Most Admired CEOs and Executives Increased Visibility at 2009 Top-Tier Conferences, According to New Weber Shandwick Study

- CEO Participation at Top-Tier Events Nearly Doubled Since 2007 -

- Clinton Global Initiative Ranked #1 for CEOs -

Jan 25, 2010, 08:30 ET from Weber Shandwick

NEW YORK, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- CEO participation at top global forums increased 96% from 2007 among the top 50 world's most admired companies, according to a new analysis by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick. Underscoring this rising trend in executive visibility, other C-level executives (CMOs, CFOs, CIOs/CTOs) from these leading organizations increased their participation by 40% from 2007.

World's Most Admired Companies' Top 50 CEOs



% Increase









The increase in the 2009 CEO speaking circuit roster was boosted, for the most part, by CEOs from the financial sector and those with highly competitive rivals who have already embraced these influential venues. Weber Shandwick's annual "Five-Star Conference" study examines the speaking engagements of CEOs and C-level executives from the world's top 50 most admired companies at top-tier, or Five-Star, conferences.  

"Despite this past year's tough economy, executive scrutiny and limited budgets, top level conferences continue to attract executives from the most respected organizations in the world.  Businesses are clearly hungry for channels to network with customers and disseminate content," said Jennifer Risi, Executive Vice President of Weber Shandwick's Global Strategic Media Group and creator of the company's proprietary VOICEBOXX™ service offering, which identifies and secures executive speaking engagements to shape corporate agendas. "Without a doubt, speaking engagements are becoming an increasingly critical tool within the PR arsenal, helping CEOs and their senior executive bench address their strategic vision, stand apart from the competition, and build thought leadership."

Top Five Events for CEOs and C-Level Executives

Weber Shandwick looked at CEO and C-level executive participation at 22 premier conferences.  Among the findings revealed in this year's Five-Star Conference analysis, the top events for CEOs include (in rank order): Clinton Global Initiative, Chief Executives' Club of Boston, the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, and the World Economic Forum.  Strikingly, the World Economic Forum (WEF) lost its top-ranked status in 2009 to the Clinton Global Initiative as well as to other U.S. based conferences.  WEF's decline in ranking can be attributed to the severe economic conditions at the beginning of 2009 when the Forum was held and the urgent need for U.S. CEOs to remain at headquarters to manage their businesses.

Click below to view Rank of Five-Star Events Based on # on All-Star CEO Speakers (2009)*:


Top events for other C-level executives include (in rank order): FT (Financial Times) Innovate, Fortune Brainstorm: Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology CFO Summit, Conference Board's Marketing Conference and the Milken Institute's Global Conference.

Click below to view Ranking of Five-Star Events Based on # on All-Star C-Level Speakers (2009)*:


When reviewing the agendas of the highest ranking conferences revealed in our research, the topics focused on the "reinvention economy" and how the public and private sectors are working together to rebuild the global economy.  These top forums not only provide a platform for collaboration but highlight emerging issues, global risks and the companies that are driving the forthcoming economic reset.

Risi added: "Our results highlight how many of the world's most admired companies chose speaking platforms as part of their communications strategy in these unprecedented times to demonstrate leadership strength and competitive differentiation.  These CEOs did not shy away from the spotlight but instead participated in conferences that required their skills in economic problem-solving, commitment to corporate responsibility and development in innovative business practices."

About the Research

The fourth wave of the Five-Star Conference Study was conducted in December 2009 by Weber Shandwick using the following method:

  • The 2009 All-Stars of Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies were identified by Weber Shandwick. These are the top 50 most admired companies overall, according to Fortune Magazine's annual survey of senior global businesspeople.
  • CEO and three other C-level executive (CFOs, CMOs and CIO/CTOs) names were identified and appended to the All-Star company list.
  • Nineteen top-tier conferences and three top business school conferences for 2009 were identified by Weber Shandwick's Global Strategic Media Group. These events were chosen based on client feedback and event media coverage.
  • Agendas for each top-tier event were secured and each agenda was reviewed to identify which, if any, CEO or other C-level executive from the All-Star companies spoke at these events.
  • Results were compared to the 2007 Five-Star Conference Study conducted in late 2007 using the same methodology as the 2009 study.

* Conferences with 2+ speakers included


VOICEBOXX™ is a unique suite of exclusive executive service and product offerings offered by Weber Shandwick that helps companies strategically secure senior management visibility and positioning. Please contact Jennifer Risi at 212.445.8375 or for more information.

About Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations agency with offices in 77 countries around the world. The firm's success is built on its deep commitment to client service, our people, creativity, collaboration and harnessing the power of Advocates - engaging stakeholders in new and creative ways to build brands and reputation. Weber Shandwick provides strategy and execution across practices such as consumer marketing, healthcare, technology, public affairs, financial services, corporate and crisis management. Its specialized services include digital/social media, advocacy advertising, market research, and corporate responsibility. In 2009, Weber Shandwick was recognized as PRWeek's inaugural Global Agency Report Card Gold Medal Winner, an 'Agency of the Decade' by Advertising Age, Global Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report, and International Consultancy of the Year by PRWeek UK. The firm has also won numerous 'best place to work' awards around the world including PR News and The Holmes Report. Weber Shandwick is part of the Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG). For more information, visit

Jennifer Norton

Jennifer Risi

Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick



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