Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Making CEOs Allies

Academic journal article Public Relations Journal

Making CEOs Allies

Article excerpt

"Communications are the single most important force in the successful management of a company." So stated James E. Burke, chairman, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, at a recent awards dinner. Formerly chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, Burke recognizes public relations as the "most important tool" in the corporate arsenal. He presided over J&J as its assets grew from $2.5 billion to $9 billion in 16 years. Public relations played an important role at J&J and is central to conveying the partnership's mission and key messages, Burke said.

To get access to the CEO, he advised, public relations practitioners must be "proactive." This advice is backed up by findings in the research report in this issue on CEOs and CCOs (chief communications officers) by a group of West Coast academicians (page 22). While 48% of a samle of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies believe they should be the primary corporate spokesperson in employee communications, those who function in this role spend less than 18% of their communicating with employees. This is an improvement over earlier findings and just 5% short of what CEO said was the "ideal" amount of time for employee contact (23%).

But even the most enlightened and communicative CEOs have only a limited understanding of how the CCO should be positioned as part of the overall public relations strategy, the researchers conclude. …

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