The CEOs of Campbell Soup Company and Nintendo were also on the coveted list headed by Pichai.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on May 21, 2018

The inaugural survey conducted by Reputation Institute has drawn on more than 28,000 individual ratings collected in 2018 from the G15 economies to make its findings.

It named Sundar Pichai the world’s most trusted CEO not only for Google’s fiscal record, but because he is viewed as a leader with a strong sense of social responsibility.

Reputation Institue said that Pichai “stands out for his responsible leadership and is viewed as excellent on the merits of fiscal, social and environmental responsibility.”

The Indian-born Pichai was named CEO of Google in 2015, when he was just 43 years old.

During his tenure, he has spearheaded an ambitious plan to train 10 million people in Africa in software development.

He has also won praise for his handling of the James Damore memo. Damore was a software engineer at Google who circulated a memo criticising the company’s diversity policies. Pichai promptly fired Damore and reiterated Google’s support for a diverse workplace.

Pichai has also been outspoken on issues around climate change and immigration.

He was a prominent critic of US President Donald Trump’s decision to temporarily ban refugees from certain countries.

The company has also made substantial donations to refugee causes under Pichai’s leadership.

Tatsumi Kimishima of Nintendo and Denise Morrison of the Campbell Soup Company were the other CEOs to be highly commended among the Top 10 CEOs.

In a strange piece of timing, Morrison exited her role the very next day.

Kimishima is also set to hand over the reigns at Nintendo to Shuntaro Furukawa in a matter of weeks.

Pinchai and the new type of CEO

Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, Chief Reputation Officer at Reputation Institute, said Pichai’s placement at number one reflected a new model of corporate leadership.

“The rubric for what it takes to be a great leader is quickly shifting,” Hahn-Griffiths said.

“Assessing a CEO’s performance based solely on financial returns is no longer enough.

“There is a new era emerging in which the intangibles of reputation are driving political, social and economic change, and giving CEOs reason to reconsider their role as a leader.

“To be relevant as a contemporary leader today, you need to be a CEO with conscience.”

“To be relevant as a contemporary leader today you need to be a CEO with conscience.”

The report found that having a commitment to social responsibility and ensuring the company is acting ethically contributed to about one third of a CEO’s reputation. Other attributes common to the most trusted CEOs were openness and consistency.

The report went on to state that the era of celebrity CEOs, such as Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, may be over.

It also pointed to a greater turnover of CEOs in recent times. The report found that 132 CEOs stepped down in January 2018, the highest rate of change in eight years.

The top 10 most reputable CEOs (in alphabetical order)

  • Giorgio Armani – Giorgio Armani
  • Keith Barr – InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Fabrizio Freda – The Esteé Lauder Company
  • Ralph Hamers – ING
  • Bernard Hess – The Kraft Heinz Company
  • Tatsumi Kimishima – Nintendo
  • Denise Morrison – Campbell Soup Company
  • Sundar Pichai – Google
  • Dirk Van de Put – Mondelez International
  • Jeff Weiner – LinkedIn