CEOs and digital dirt

News that Christian Streiff, the chairman of French car company, Peugeot-Citroen, has been ousted follows hot on the heels of the departure of GM head, Rick Wagoner, this weekend. 

Interesting to see that the Wikipedia entries of both Christian Streiff and Rick Wagoner already carry this latest addition to their CVs.  It is important for anyone to monitor and manage their online presence, especially for those at the top of organisations where the Internet carries a legacy of their careers. 

However, Wikiedia’s listing of CEOs had not removed Wagoner as of this morning, reminding us of the importance of managing links.  And, looking within the corporate websites, Peugeot reported the replacement appointment of Philippe Varin – although elsewhere it still had Streiff’s details listed as chairman.  Likewise Wagoner is still on the GM site as Chairman and CEO although again the news section of the site carries his resignation message.  Again an indication that although PR departments may update the news section, they need to also check through the rest of the corporate site when news breaks.

Neither of these CEOs appears to have their own websites where they can manage their professional reputation directly.  Maybe this isn’t so surprising as CEOs seem rarely to consider taking responsibility of their own profile until a crisis happens when they belatedly hire PR advisors, as allegedly has Sir Fred Goodwin.

In the current economic climate, it is unlikely that many of the CEOs leaving high profile jobs will find it so easy to step behind another exec desk as previously.  Unlike Sir Fred, fewer will be walking away with life-changing financial packages either. 

So what’s next? The speaking tour circuit must also be impacted by the recession – so is their only option to appear on reality television or is that only for the self-made “secret millionaire” type?

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.