Brand Guardianship Index 2023
Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index 2023
Sustainability concerns shake up
ranking of world’s top CEOs
· New research finds Nvidia’s Jensen Huang has become the highest ranked brand guardian based on recognition of his visionary leadership
· Mukesh Ambani of Indian conglomerate Reliance earns 2nd place
· ‘Commercial leadership’ and ‘inspiring positive change’ are now the two most important drivers of reputation.
Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang, has become the highest ranked CEO globally according to a new report from leading brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance. Huang’s rise to the top spot reflects his crucial role in overseeing Nvidia’s advancement into the next era of computing, through innovation in artificial intelligence, digital biology, climate sciences, and autonomous vehicles and robotics. This has pushed the Nvidia brand to further achieve positive change by helping solve challenges and redefine the future.
Annie Brown, General Manager UK Consulting at Brand Finance, commented:
“This year has seen a shift in the top drivers of brand guardian reputation due to the uncertain global financial market, with ‘Commercial Leadership’ and ‘Inspiring Positive Change’ now the two most important drivers of reputation. This reflects the necessity of brand guardians maintaining a strong focus on commercial outcomes in difficult operating conditions.”
Mukesh Ambani of Reliance has also moved into 2nd position, overtaking Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, who now sits in 3rd place. They are joined at the top of the ranking by the brand guardians of several well-known brands: Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen (4th), Google’s Sundar Pichai (5th), and Deloitte’s Punit Renjen (6th).
Ambani continues to oversee Reliance’s transition into green energy, and the diversification of its telecoms and retail branches. This commitment to positive change has positively raised his perception as Chairman and Managing Director of the group and is reflected by Ambani’s top performance on the ‘Inspires positive change’ metric within the Brand Guardianship Index.
CHANEL CEO Leena Nair was the highest ranked female in the ranking in 11th position. Only 7 out of 100 brand guardians are female. However, we expect and hope to see an increase in the number of highly ranking female Chief Executives included in the ranking in coming years.
More than ever before, highly paid brand guardians are being held accountable for their commercial and moral organisational leadership. CEOs are expected to successfully manage the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. As a result of this, 2022 has seen the dismissal of a number of formerly high-ranking brand guardians, such as Disney’s Bob Chapek.
Half of this year’s top ten Chief Executives or equivalents came from the tech and media sectors, down from 9 out of 10 in 2022, highlighting a diversification of sectors at the top of the ranking in 2023. Engineering and Finance are the most common backgrounds that those in the ranking came from. These both accounted for 27 of the brand guardians included in the ranking, more than double the next most common background, which was Computer Science. 9 CEOs were the founders of the companies they now lead, while an astonishing 72 out of 100 were internally appointed to their current position.
At a country level, the US leads the ranking and China follows. However, Indian Chief Executives also performed well, with six in the top 100 and two in the top ten. There was a further 4 Indian-American CEOs in the top 10. Germany also accounted for 6 CEOs in the ranking, while the UAE punched well above its weight with 3 CEOs in the top 100.