Out of the Blue: PR Measurement News

Friday, March 23, 2007 Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Bringing Back The CEO   VOLUME 2 ISSUE 7  
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Bringing Back The CEO: Does It Work?
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: War of Words
February 28, 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 6
Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Dinner of Champions
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Do You Hear What I Hear?
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Read 'Em and Weep
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Setting Goals for Press Coverage
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Public Relations Measurement Newsletter: Reputation
August 3, 2005
Vol. 1 Issue 1
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March 23, 2007
Bringing Back The CEO: Does It Work?
http://www.blue-marble.com
by Debra Parcheta

Triumphant

No Respect

Rodney Dangerfield was right. Sometimes you get no respect -- even if you're a CEO or former CEO who started a highly successful company.

As president of my own company, I know the feeling well. Sometimes, my employees want to do things their own way. It's especially hard to take when they're right.

Col. Sanders learned the get-no-respect lesson 40 years ago after selling Kentucky Fried Chicken and stepping down from his role as CEO to that of spokesperson.

When the Colonel went public with his concern that the new owners were lowering quality standards, they told him to shut up and reminded him it would cost him a lot of money if he didn't. He kept his concerns to himself after that. Talk about getting no respect.

It didn't happen in Colonel Sanders’ case, but some companies bring their ex-bosses back as a way to improve their reputation as well as their bottom line.

It doesn't always work.

The Six-Hour Revolt

A group of shareholders staged a six-hour revolt recently at the annual meeting of South Korea's Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. over plans to bring back a former CEO. They thought his conviction for embezzling millions of dollars from the company several years ago meant bringing him back wasn't a good idea. In fairness to the executive in question, he did receive a pardon. I think the shareholders weren't convinced he was innocent. Jobs-Dell Impressions.

Sometimes things work out quite well when a CEO returns.

Co-founder Steve Jobs left Apple in the mid-1980's because he was no longer getting any respect from his own Board of Directors.

But he got the last laugh. He came back in 2000 to bail out a company on the brink of disaster. Even before his success in restoring Apple as a profitable, thriving company, the media greeted his return positively. So far, at least, Jobs' return to Apple is nothing short of triumphal.

More recently, Michael Dell returned as CEO of the computer company he founded, with a mission similar to the one Jobs undertook at Apple -- restore the company's image and profitability.

More Skeptical

The media and others have been more skeptical of Dell's return.1

Ultimately, of course, the wisdom of Dell's return will depend on whether he succeeds in restoring his company to its former position of success.

In the meantime, the company might want to consider measuring what the media and analysts are saying about their new rehired CEO and the company itself (if they aren't doing it already) and building messages to counter the negative hits they’re taking.

In fact, I've found that measuring media coverage of what the executives say and do is generally a good idea. Sometimes, you can use the results of those measurements to get executives to make changes on their own that they won’t do just because you tell them they should -- even if you're right.


1Print and online press coverage from Factiva, 1/1/2000 through 12/31/2000 (Jobs) and 1/1/2007 through 3/18/2007 (Dell).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Someone gave Debra a ruler the day she showed up for the first grade, and she's been measuring things ever since. She founded Blue Marble Enterprises in 1994, and over the past 13 years Blue Marble has built the world's largest database of media impressions and ad rates for media measurement. You can reach her at dparcheta@blue-marble.com / 303-750-9610.



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