Monday, November 21, 2005

Business Magazine CEO Covers Go Dark

Looking back to June 2005 (approximately six months), it is clear that the major business magazines are rightsizing CEOs right off their covers. Whereas CEOs were once regular cover fodder for Fortune, Forbes and BusinessWeek, they are now MIA. See the figures below:

From June 1 - Nov 30
Fortune 5
Forbes 4
BusinessWeek 5
Total = 14
Fortune 6
Forbes 1
BusinessWeek 9
Total = 16
Fortune 1
Forbes 3
BusinessWeek 0
Total = 4

This change in CEO iconography could be due to several reasons. The most obvious reason for non-CEO covers is that business editors no longer want to celebritize CEOs only to have them revealed months later as law-breaking scoundrels. Many business editors still remember Enron cover boys Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling. Another reason for the lack of CEOs on recent business covers could have to do with CEOs themselves. Few CEOs today would want to be tagged as an "imperial CEO." Employees, investors, shareholders and board members might look askance at CEO-posing when they businesses have to be run and customers met. Another factor that might be keeping CEOs off business magazine covers is the Sports Illustrated jinx -- the superstitious belief that athletes appearing on SI covers is tantamount to the kiss of death (see 2002 SI story re the jinx.)

We will keep track of what the next six months of business magazine covers bring and let you know what we find.



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2:14 AM  

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