Feb 1, 2024 - Business

The most buzzworthy CEOs in the Fortune 100

Data: MuckRack; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals
Data: MuckRack; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios Visuals

CEOs are increasingly opining across social media and sitting down for long-form media interviews.

Why it matters: There's a direct correlation between CEO visibility and corporate visibility — both of which can greatly influence business outcomes.

What they're saying: "The only way to execute strategy is through communication, and the CEO is the major conduit to every single constituency — shareholders, employees, the media, you name it," says Paul Argenti, professor of corporate communication at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

  • "If a CEO is able to create a buzz about the company through any kind of interview they're doing, it's always important for them to be out there."

By the numbers: Of all the Fortune 100 CEOs, Tesla's Elon Musk received the most coverage in 2023, according to data provided by Muck Rack.

  • In his capacity as CEO of Tesla — which is his only company listed within the Fortune 100 — Musk received more than double the coverage of the next most talked about executive, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg.
  • When the search is expanded to include all other mentions, Musk's coverage triples to 3.5 million news stories.

Zoom in: More than 510,000 news stories were written about Zuckerberg in 2023, according to Muck Rack data.

  • He received the most press in July with the launch of Threads and the Musk vs. Zuckerberg cage match chatter that followed.
  • Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger landed at No. 3 with more than 250,000 news stories, while Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft's Satya Nadella rounded out the top five.

Well-known execs Sundar Pichai of Alphabet, Amazon's Andy Jassy, JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Ford Motors' Jim Farley and Mary Barra of GM made up the remainder of the top 10.

  • Meanwhile, leaders from World Kinect, PBF Energy and AmerisourceBergen were the Fortune 100 CEOs to see the least amount of ink.

Between the lines: While corporate crises and geopolitical commentary landed some CEOs in the headlines, most executives were simply weighing in on 2023 industry trends.

  • Stories featuring auto executives primarily covered labor strikes and electric vehicle news, while tech coverage focused on layoffs and AI advancements.
  • Executives from Citigroup, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs saw upticks of coverage around return-to-office mandates.

Be smart: Commenting on trends and news of the day allows executives to appear as thought leaders while also weaving in strategic, corporate messaging.

  • "It's really a shortcut for an organization to communicate their strategy," says Argenti.
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