DAX30 CEO Image Ranking: Theodor Weimer at the top, Christian Klein climbing several ranks

  • Deutsche Börse CEO Theodor Weimer has once again defended his top rank in the DAX30 CEO Image Ranking. He has been calling for higher penalties amid the Wirecard scandal.
  • SAP CEO Christian Klein climbs several ranks, winning him 2nd place. Joachim Wenning (Munich Re) rounds off the Top 3. Both CEOs managed to sharpen their profile during the coronavirus crisis.
  • Oliver Zipse is the newest addition to the Image Ranking, making his debut in 10th place.

Theodor Weimer, CEO of Deutsche Börse, has been leading the UNICEPTA DAX30 CEO Image Ranking since the beginning of 2020. The media has now been enthralled with his skill and strong leadership for the third consecutive quarter. Speaking to Börsen-Zeitung, he announced his plans to “drastically reduce” travel expenses at Deutsche Börse. The media also views his appointment to the supervisory board of Knorr-Bremse as confirmation of his skills as a strong leader.

His adamant position regarding the Wirecard scandal also drew some attention. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that he called for “drastically raising the penalty for listed corporations that are late in publishing their quarterly and annual reports.” He proactively met the revelations stemming from the scandal head on and is not afraid of self-criticism. “As the head of Deutsche Börse, it’s surprising to see how someone could build a company of this size based on fraud. […] We can’t just hide our heads in the sand, but instead need to draw the right conclusions from it,” he is quoted as saying by Handelsblatt.

Klein and Wenning score amid the coronavirus crisis

SAP CEO Christian Klein saw the highest jump in the CEO Image Ranking – from 8th to 2nd place. In an interview with Handelsblatt, SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp was generous in his praise for the CEO, saying Klein was “the best choice we could have made.” He added that Klein has a “charismatic personality” and has been responsible for the “crucial progress” the company has made. Capital characterizes him as a humble man, since Klein intends to donate part of his performance related bonuses to charity.

Joachim Wenning (Munich Re) again makes his way into the Top 3. The CEO has been steadfast in navigating his company safely through the crisis, as evident in the “market leader’s solid finances,” writes Börsen-Zeitung. Wenning believes his company can weather crises and sees no need for taking any additional measures. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung quotes him as saying that “we won’t sacrifice jobs to the coronavirus crisis.”

Oliver Zipse makes debut in the top 10

Henkel CEO Carsten Knobel climbs two pegs to 4th rank since he also benefits from his management of the Dusseldorf-based company during the coronavirus crisis, as a quote picked up by Die Welt exemplifies: “We didn’t reduce working hours during the crisis nor filed for government aid. Neither did we cut any jobs because of the pandemic.” Stern also attests that Knobel has an increased focus on sustainability, writing that the Henkel CEO “used the buzz word ten times during his recent speech at the shareholder meeting.”

Timotheus Höttges (Deutsche Telekom) is ranked 5th as he is still benefitting from the booming US business. “Under CEO Timotheus Höttges, the corporation managed to transform its longstanding difficulties in the US business into a key driver of growth,” writes Handelsblatt.

Höttges is trailed by Oliver Bäte (Allianz, 6th rank), Stephan Sturm (Fresenius, 7th rank), Johannes Teyssen (E.ON, 8th rank) and Rolf Martin Schmitz (RWE, 9th rank). A new entry follows in 10th place with BMW CEO Oliver Zipse. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reports that Zipse “relentlessly sunk his teeth into resolving ecological details during his first year as CEO.” His plan to save millions of tons of CO2 emissions by 2030 was met with a positive response. A manager at BMW told the paper that “Zipse managed to clean house.”

For the CEO Ranking, UNICEPTA analyzed about 14,000 articles published from January to September 2020 in German opinion-leading media, as well as in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, the Financial Times, and Neue Zürcher Zeitung. The ranking is based on the results of the UNICEPTA “DAX Benchmark”, with which the media and data intelligence provider tracks the media presence of all DAX-listed companies and their CEOs along with the tonality of reporting.


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