Annual CEO Ranking by UNICEPTA: Making successful use of honeymoon period and future trends to generate positive media reports


-       Henkel CEO Van Bylen with best media image 2016 of all DAX30 CEOs, ahead of McDermott (SAP) und Rorsted (adidas)

-       New CEOs enjoy early vote of confidence, while long-standing company heads impress with good results and future trends

Hans Van Bylen convinced the media in 2016: Henkel's new CEO made it to the top of UNICEPTA's CEO Ranking at the first time of asking. Van Bylen, who only took the helm at the Düsseldorf-based consumer-goods corporation in May 2016, has gradually climbed up the image ranking in the past few quarters.

The acquisition of US rival Sun Products immediately after he became CEO had already been appreciated by the media as a successful start, aided by the fact that Van Bylen took the reins at what was already a successful company.

"The new Henkel CEO benefits from the company’s excellent image," says Claas Sandrock, Managing Director at monitoring, analysis and communication services provider UNICEPTA, which regularly compiles the CEO Ranking.

For the CEO Ranking, UNICEPTA analyzed almost 36,000 articles published in German opinion-leading media in 2016, and assessed their tonality. Results from the UNICEPTA "DAX Benchmark", which entails the constant monitoring of reporting on all DAX-listed companies and their CEOs, served as a basis.

Van Bylen also owes his good image to his predecessor Kasper Rorsted (ranking 3rd as new CEO of adidas). The media covered Rorsted's start at the sportswear manufacturer in a favourable light against the backdrop of his positive image as Henkel CEO, giving him credit for his reputation as a keen sportsman, above all.

Bill McDermott (SAP, from 3rd (1st HY) to 2nd) impressed journalists primarily with his personal commitment to customer satisfaction. With the successful expansion of the Cloud Computing unit, McDermott is considered a driving force behind the future trends of machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is "the new star of Germany Inc." (Handelsblatt) and has turned SAP into the most valuable company Germany has right now.

Long-standing CEOs also made it into the top ranks – thanks to good financial results and their positioning with regard to future trends. CEOs who managed to position themselves as thought leaders and innovators in the digital transformation enjoyed particularly strong resonance in the media. Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges (from 9th to 6th), for instance, is considered an advocate of digital strategies and is currently making cybersecurity a top priority, while Dieter Zetsche (Daimler, from 6th to 7th) is driving forward the cultural transformation at his company through the "Leadership 2020" program.

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser (from 17th to 9th) successfully positioned himself on industrial digitalization, and Oliver Bäte (Allianz, from 7th to 10th) is also considered an innovator concerning the digital transformation, through the insurer's cooperation with digital start-ups, for instance.


UNICEPTA Medienanalyse GmbH is a leading global provider for monitoring, media analysis, research competence and communication consulting services. Around 670 experts continuously structure the news flow – both around the clock and around the world. UNICEPTA compiles and presents highly relevant information from print and online media, TV, radio and social-media sources. This day-to-day work serves as a platform for the company to provide analysis and research-based advice for issues related to strategic communication.


UNICEPTA Medienanalyse GmbH
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Sabrina Ginter
Tel.: +49 (0)221 99 02-364