This paper summarises the findings arising from a series of extended qualitative interviews with 14 CEOs and chairmen from leading UK corporations and international organisations. The purpose of the interviews was to try to establish the value that CEOs attach to public relations, and to get a sense of how they would assess its value and contribution to overall business and organisational performance. The study also tried to determine the role CEOs play in reputation management. The findings conclude that CEOs do not expect or look for a simple return on investment (ROI) for public relations expenditure; that public relations is used regularly to enhance and protect reputation; that public relations has become mission critical for businesses and the management of reputation; that CEOs themselves take overall responsibility for the management of corporate reputation; that the CEO's personal reputation is closely linked to that of the corporation; that CEOs' profiles and the media demands made of them have never been higher; that public relations can influence organisational strategy; and that high calibre people working in public relations are highly sought after and valued by CEOs. There are many lessons and implications for public relations practitioners.
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