Rorsted once again achieves the best CEO image in 2018, followed by Weimer and McDermott


CEO Ranking: Strategically apt and economically successful managers score

-  As in 2017, Kasper Rorsted (Adidas) came in first in the ranking once again.

-  Theodor Weimer (Deutsche Börse) and Bill McDermott (SAP) replace Stephan Sturm (Fresenius) and Reinhard Ploss (Infineon) on places two and three.  

-  In the last quarter of 2018, Stefan Heidenreich (Beiersdorf) climbs to place five, Markus Braun (Wirecard) enters the ranking on place nine.  


Kasper Rorsted undisputedly leads UNICEPTA’s DAX 30-CEOs image ranking. In the fourth quarter of 2018, continuing his success with the media. As in 2017, the Adidas CEO came in first in the overall ranking once again.

In addition to the company’s good financial results, the media recently applauded Adidas’ strategy under Rorsted’s leadership. Focus, for example, praises that Adidas stays in top form and that the company’s stock rose “by 15 percent in the last three months,” a “top performance on the Dax.” The media describe him as a competent manager with a strategic mindset. WirtschaftsWoche writes that nobody had doubts about Rorsted’s future success when he switched to Adidas. Since the fourth quarter of 2016, Rorsted has been included in UNICEPTA's CEO Image Ranking - at that time, he was ranked third.

Theodor Weimer (Deutsche Börse) comes in second in the overall 2018 ranking. The media repeatedly praise how Weimer dealt with uncertainty in the company and the weakened relationships with stakeholders. Handelsblatt emphasizes that Weimer promised “not to seek mergers that would jeopardize the headquarters of Deutsche Börse in Eschborn near Frankfurt - a message that was well received by employees and politicians alike.”

Bill McDermott (SAP) occupies the third place in the overall ranking. The manager, who did not make it into the top 10 of the CEO ranking in 2017 (place 20), is described by Neue Zürcher Zeitung as “extremely successful.” McDermott’s strategic decisions, such as acquisitions or investments in the cloud business, are praised. Handelsblatt thinks: “All this pays off. In the third quarter, the cloud business grew by 39 percent to 1.3 billion euros, or 41 percent adjusted for currency effects.”

Stefan Heidenreich (Beiersdorf) manages a significant leap forward in the final quarter of 2018. The outgoing manager moves up from place 13 after the third quarter and now ranks fifth. The media look back on Heidenreich’s tenure, Börsen-Zeitung draws a positive conclusion, “Heidenreich’s term was successful. With average annual revenue increases of five percent, the Group is one of the fastest-growing cosmetics manufacturers in the world.”

Markus Braun (Wirecard) is a newcomer to the rankings and directly comes in ninth place. The chairman of the executive board of the rising star on the Dax does particularly well in the media with forecasts for his company. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung takes up the “strong growth” in revenue and profits.

For the CEO ranking, UNICEPTA evaluated around 30,200 articles that appeared from January to mid-December 2018 in leading German media as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Economist. The ranking is based on results from the UNICEPTA “Dax benchmark” that sees the provider of smart media intelligence continuously record the media presence of all Dax companies and their CEOs as well as the tonality of media coverage.


UNICEPTA Medienanalyse GmbH is a leading global provider for smart media intelligence in innovations/digital consulting, media monitoring, media analysis and research/consulting. Around 700 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. Headquartered in Cologne (Germany) and with offices in Krakow (Poland), Shanghai (China), Washington DC (USA), and Zurich (Switzerland) UNICEPTA is globally present.



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Christina Westerhorstmann

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