Thursday, April 06, 2006

Politicians and CEOs


When I was in Vienna this week to launch my book, our affiliate Hochegger/Com honored the most admired Austrian CEO from their research at the event. The CEO of energy group OMV, Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, was number one in the Austrian survey. He spoke about what CEOs need today to be successful. Since he spoke in German, I only heard what he said through someone else. Apparently he said that communications was critical to being a CEO in the 21st century. The oil major CEO remarked that he learned about the importance of communications from his government position which he held for three years. As a politician, Mr. Ruttenstorfer learned quickly about communicating daily with diverse and demanding constituents. Without that prior exposure, he said the CEO job would be very much harder.

I continually see the narrowing of the gap between politicians and CEOs. In many ways, people are voting for each every day. Politicians have to win daily support from constituents and CEOs have to win over customers to buy their products. Politicans have to get people to believe them enough to vote in their favor and CEOs must persuade stakeholders to support them by buying their stock, joining the company or giving them the benefit of the doubt in bad times. As things are going, I would not be surprised one day to see politicians with corporate governance advisory boards and CEOs running for election every four years. How crazy would that be?

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