NACD Directorship: How Corporate Leaders Can Build Credibility as Policy Advocates

Survey shows investors, opinion elites, and the general public agree on the positive value of CEOs’ involvement in policy debates over certain critical issues.

Strategic Communications

November 27, 2013

US Capitol Building Dusk

While corporate leaders often express alarm over government oversight of and intrusion into business, many American CEOs also view the political climate of Washington, D.C., as impenetrable and unwelcoming, and are uneasy about becoming involved in policy discussions. A new survey, however, shows there is clear value for CEOs in taking a more active approach.

FTI Consulting found in its 2011 survey, CEO as Statesman, that institutional investors are eager for CEOs of their portfolio companies to become involved in debate about relevant policy issues. And they continue to feel this way, according to FTI’s new survey, CEO as Statesman II. In fact, 85 percent of institutional investors say that Washington, D.C., is important to their portfolios, 78 percent want companies to be more vocal about policy, and 76 percent say that CEOs’ engagement in policy discussions is a plus for the public.

Nonetheless, the new survey shows that CEOs are correct in believing that Washington can frequently be unwelcoming of their viewpoints. Both D.C. opinion elites and the general public are skeptical about the value of corporate leaders being involved in policy debates. Forty-nine percent of D.C. opinion elites and 56 percent of the general public worry that more active CEOs will negatively impact public policy by pursuing agendas that will benefit only them and their companies.


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