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Bank chiefs have worst reputation

Jul 09 2012 11:54

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Johannesburg - The Reputation Institute has published a raft of findings this weekend including a leadership survey ranking 24 prominent business, political and black economic empowerment (BEE) leaders, BusinessLive reported.

Mining magnate and CEO of African Rainbow Minerals [JSE:ARM] Patrice Motsepe was rated as having the best reputation overall, while Absa Group [JSE:ASA] CEO Maria Ramos and Nedbank Group [JSE:NED] CEO Mike Brown have the worst reputations among the leaders of the JSE's top 10 companies.

Graham McKay of SABMiller [JSE:SAB] was rated second and Cynthia Carroll of Anglo American [JSE:AGL] third.

BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] CEO Marius Kloppers came fourth and Sanlam [JSE:SLM] CEO Johan van Zyl fifth.

Dominik Heil, MD of the Reputation Institute, said in a press release the survey could reflect declining confidence in the banking sector, particularly in the light of the global economic crisis.

"Recent events in the economy have cast doubt on whether CEOs behave ethically," Heil said.

Ramos and Sasol [JSE:SOL] chief David Constable, who came eighth on the list, scored the lowest in the areas of behaving ethically. Ramos scored the lowest in the area of being an effective manager.

Carroll was seen as the CEO who behaves the most ethically while McKay was perceived as the most effective manager.

Despite the controversy over MTN's acquisition of a licence in Iran, MTN Group [JSE:MTN] CEO Sifiso Dabengwa was rated the boss with the best reputation.

"If you are a network user it is probably more important to you that you have network, rather than whether the company has operational problems overseas," said Heil.

Included in the survey was a poll of four prominent BEE leaders: Motsepe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Saki Macozoma and Tokyo Sexwale.

Ramaphosa was placed 13th overall, Sexwale 15th and Macozoma 16th.

Heil speculated that this could be because BEE had lost its iconic status in the eyes of ordinary citizens.

"It is not that people are disenchanted with BEE overall, but they see politically connected players as being just like everyone else.

"Only Patrice Motsespe stands out. He is seen as someone who seems to have filled the BEE space in an entrepreneurial way," Heil said. Motsepe scored the highest rating in creating value for the country.

The BEE leaders chosen were not independent and were probably seen in the same way as politicians, political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi was quoted as saying.

President Jacob Zuma was listed ninth out of 10 politicians and in 23rd position overall, with Helen Zille, Patricia de Lille, Lindiwe Mazibuko and Mosiuoa Lekota ahead of him.

According to the survey, areas in which Zuma scored poorly included behaving ethically, being an effective manager, creating value and making South Africa a better place.

Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was voted the political leader with the best reputation.

Vavi scored the highest in the area of being a strong and appealing leader.

Heil said he was surprised that the president featured so low on the rankings.

But "since the survey was done before the whole Spear debacle, it may have changed slightly", he added.

Matshiqi said he was not surprised that the number one spot did not go to the head of state. This showed that politics and politicians had an image deficit problem far greater than that of the private sector.

"I think the vote for Vavi has a high ethical and moral content that is informed by the perception that corruption has become endemic.

"It shows a lack of trust and confidence in political leadership," he said.

Matshiqi said with Motsepe seen as the best leader and only four politicians making the top 10, it appeared that people perceived private sector leadership as more credible than political leadership.

Matshiqi said the fact that Deputy President Kgalema Mothlanthe ranked high above Zuma meant he was popular with these particular respondents.

"But the people in the sample are not the ones who are going to be voting in Mangaung.

"What this does say is that if the president was chosen by ordinary people, then Zuma would have a lot to be worried about," Matshiqi said.

Heil said that while former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema had been surveyed before he no longer held an official position.

"But his ratings were so low that it would be deemed irresponsible for us to include him in the survey. According to our survey, he is a fabrication of the media conversation.

"We have never in our entire history seen such low ratings for someone, so it is not responsible to mention him by name in a public conversation. It is a conversation not supported by people, and we live in a democracy," said Heil. 

Heil said the 1 304 survey respondents came from Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.

They had varying incomes, ages and education levels and 52% were female, 58% black, 30% white and 7% Indian.

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