Mario Greco, CEO of Zurich Insurance, has the best image among Swiss CEOs in 2020

  • Mario Greco, CEO of Zurich Insurance, has won the Swiss CEO Image Ranking of Sonntagszeitung. Especially in the second half of 2020, Greco stood out thanks to a strong media presence and high image scores.
  • Jan Jenisch (LafargeHolcim) came in second, followed by Albert M. Baehny, who served as interim CEO of Lonza until November. Both increased their image scores in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • For the ranking, media intelligence company UNICEPTA analyzed the media presence of the CEOs of all SMI-listed Swiss companies and, in addition, the media presence of Coop, Glencore, Migros, SBB and the Swiss Post.

Somewhat surprisingly, Mario Greco wins the image ranking of Swiss CEOs in 2020, which was published by Sonntagszeitung. The Zurich CEO did not reach the required media presence threshold in the second quarter, but was able to get back into the ranking and then jump to the top position in the second half of 2020 thanks to higher visibility and good image values.

Finanz und Wirtschaft describes him as a manager who has always been able to grow with his tasks. In an interview with Sonntagszeitung, Greco highlighted his company’s engagement during the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to the Zurich solidarity fund, clients who explicitly excluded coverage of pandemics received payments as well, he said. “Nearly all clients were very satisfied with these payments and thanked Zurich." NZZ am Sonntag even speculates that the “successful CEO of the insurance company” could be a potential candidate to succeed Axel Weber as chairman of UBS.

Jan Jenisch (LafargeHolcim) and Albert M. Baehny (Lonza) stay on their successful course

Jan Jenisch came in second in the 2020 CEO Image Ranking. In the fourth quarter, media outlets continued to highlight that the LafargeHolcim CEO is on a successful course. “Under his management, revenues of the leading supplier of specialty chemicals for the construction industry have tripled and profits have doubled,” Le Temps concludes. This has made the company more attractive on the stock market as well. “Cement producer LafargeHolcim offers good opportunities,” writes Finanz und Wirtschaft. “CEO Jan Jenisch is doing an excellent job.”

Albert M. Baehny, whose role as interim CEO of Lonza ended on November 1, is the third CEO in the Top three. He remains, however, chairman of the chemical company’s board of directors. Even shortly before he passed the CEO position on to Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, Sonntagszeitung noted that Baehny had been increasingly shaping the company. “Production is running at full speed, the plants are working to capacity. Full order books promise continued double-digit percentage growth.” Under Baehny's temporary management, the company has positioned itself “absolutely competitively.” Baehny was succeeded by Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, who joined the company from Roche.

Björn Rosengren would like to see more women in management positions, outgoing Sergio Ermotti received praise

ABB CEO Björn Rosengren, the winner of the last three rankings, came in fourth in 2020. Rosengren has consistently high image scores, but, compared to Greco, Jenisch and Beahny, his score did not rise further. Journalists approve his call to double the share of women in the executive ranks. In this way, the company “also make a contribution to improving its business performance,” Aargauer Zeitung quotes him as saying. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung describes Rosengren as an “eager portfolio manager who quickly divests businesses that don't fit his strategic concept.”

Rosengren shares the fourth place with Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider. Handelszeitung writes that the company is hardly recognizable under Schneider’s management. “The colossus is more agile and innovative, with sustainability issues being a permanent point on the agenda.” Finanz und Wirtschaft praises Schneider as well. “CEO Mark Schneider has skillfully sent the multinational on course for growth. The next task is to increase profits. This will succeed,” the newspaper is certain.

The following places are held by Vincent Ducrot (SBB, sixth place), Thomas Gottstein (Credit Suisse, seventh place), Fabrice Zumbrunnen (Migros, eighth place) and Vasant Narasimhan (Novartis, ninth place). The annual ranking is completed by another shared position, with Joos Sutter (Coop) and former UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, who stepped down on November 1, 2020, in a joint tenth place. Ermotti’s departure was sweetened by the media describing him as the one to put out the worst fires, the knight in shining armor, and the man who built a new, more solid UBS, Blick sums up. NZZ am Sonntag also saw his departure as a loss, running the farewell headline “We need more Ermottis.”

In compiling the CEO Image Ranking of Sonntagszeitung, UNICEPTA analyzed 2,380 contributions from leading Swiss media published between January and December 2020, as well as articles published in Spiegel, FAZ, Handelsblatt, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Economist. The ranking is based on the findings of the UNICEPTA “SMI-Benchmark”. Through this benchmark, the Media & Data Intelligence company continuously monitors the media presence of all SMI CEOs (plus Swiss Post, SBB, Coop, Glencore and Migros) as well as the tonality of media reporting.


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