Leaders are undoubtedly integral to organisations. Their decisions shape the minds of those working with them and steer the organisation’s vision to where they want to go in the future. Those who leave an indelible mark on the company’s success will no doubt receive praise and inspire awe from their peers – especially in the realms of mainstream and social media. This is the space where fame – or even notoriety – boosts the CEO’s profile to another level.

The role that CEOs play demands a high level of scrutiny. As their decisions and comments have far-ranging effects on industries and the business landscape, industry observers and analysts will look towards the CEOs to get a sense of where the organisation is heading. These indicators are shared with the rest of the industry through various forms of media, thus giving the CEOs an elevated platform to espouse their visions. What CEOs say greatly influence opinions in their respective industries. Subsequently, the CEO’s persona within the media reaps recognition, prestige, connections and monetary gains. 

After establishing that presence within the media, the messages that the CEOs deliver must reach out and engage the specific audiences. Usually, there are certain elements present in the messages that these high profile CEOs deliver –  they are contextual to specific issues, relevant to the reader, driven by facts and acknowledges the authority of which the message is delivered. These attributes boost the profile of the CEO among his or her peers and concurrently reaffirms the organisation’s status at the forefront of the industry.

Singapore’s High Profile CEOs

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Meltwater took this opportunity to scour the media and showcase some of the most high-profile CEOs in Singapore in 2019. Meltwater’s newest tool, Explore, fuses both news and social media activity in one dashboard for decision-makers to quickly spot insightful trends.

Collectively, there were around 20,300 mentions of these CEOs in the news and social media. That total was split down the middle between two channels of the media (9,960 – News, 10,340 – Social Media). Blogs (3,420 mentions) were the platform of choice for netizens as these CEOs are constantly mentioned in discussions where industry observers shared their analyses and opinions to forecast business trends. Twitter (3,050 mentions) was the next platform of choice for netizens to quickly share their thoughts on the CEOs. Forums (2,520 mentions) were also not far behind where they provided lively debates and interesting counter-opinions on the various CEOs.

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From the select list of Singapore’s high-profile CEOs, Grab’s Anthony Tan aptly stole the headlines for 2019. The recognisable head honcho of arguably Southeast Asia’s largest super app grabbed more than 5,600 mentions in both mainstream and social media. This could be due to the tech company’s various developments throughout the year — from its foray into digital banking to its expansion plans in the region.

Not far behind is Singapore’s leading bank DBS’ Piyush Gupta and sustainable solutions company Hyflux’s Olivia Lum. However, it has to be pointed out that 29% of the total mentions of Gupta were positive, the same cannot be said for the troubled company led by Lum. Hyflux received 28% negative mentions in the media. This could be largely due to netizens highlighting Lum’s role in the company’s long-drawn debt restructuring process.

An interesting highlight is Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative Technologies and creator of the SoundBlaster. The outspoken leader received 53% of positive mentions. A provocative remark he made during the year also gained extensive coverage across mainstream and social media. Sim, a sprightly 63-year-old bachelor, suggested that entrepreneurs should abstain from marriage to fully realise their potential in achieving success because their focus would only be given to the development of their business.

From Being Good to Great

The greatest asset that most high-profile CEOs have is the unmistakable ability of foresight or vision to see which direction their organisation is heading towards. This propensity to guide and navigate through the unpredictable climes of the business landscape, coupled with a keen sense of business acumen and nous to mitigate risks, CEOs lead the organisation’s various resources to constantly develop and expand its capabilities.

Recognition of their visions and innovations are important to CEOs and business leaders. Mainstream and social media are platforms that vindicate the prominence of CEOs. When media outreach plans are executed to their full potential, plaudits and fanfare await them. On the other hand, the spotlight on miscalculations may adversely affect their social image. As renowned investor Shawn Carter exclaimed, there is a need to “just let them be great”, and with the help of the media, greatness is within their reach.

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