Should CEOs use social media?

Good morning.

Should CEOs use social media? The idea still feels foreign to many corporate leaders. Elon Musk’s public waffling over his Twitter deal is an example that most don’t wish to emulate. And often, their communications advisers are even more gun shy, because they fear losing control. I worked for Rupert Murdoch when Jack Dorsey first convinced him to take to Twitter, and I can tell you that the prospect of his periodic, unedited tweets filled his public relations advisers with dread.

But a study out this morning from Brunswick makes clear that social media is not just a tool for narcissistic leaders to feed their need—it is increasingly an essential means for communications. The study is based on a survey of 2,800 readers of financial publications and 3,600 employees of large companies in seven different markets, as well as in-depth interviews with a number of leaders. Some takeaways:

  • 73% of employees and 86% of financial readers said it was either “somewhat important” or “very important” for business leaders to use social media to communicate about their companies.
  • By a 4 to 1 ratio, employees say that, all else being equal, they would rather work for a CEO who uses social media to communicate than one who does not. 
  • That sentiment is stronger in Asia—41 to 1 in Hong Kong, and 9 to 1 in Singapore—than in the U.S. (3 to 1). But even in the U.S., it’s gone up from 2 to 1 in 2019.

Why? Survey respondents say it makes the CEO seem more accessible and helps keep teams connected. It also shows that the leader understands and is comfortable with technology. And in today’s world, as one executive quoted in the report puts it, “there isn’t really a divide between internal and external communications. It is often better to take the inside-outside approach. Pull the curtain back and publish the internal note for external people to see on social media. Ultimately, that helps with transparency and shows we’re not hiding anything.”

The study doesn’t mention it, but I’d cite this five-minute YouTube video from late Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, filmed in March of 2020 to inform his employees of the devastating effect COVID was having on their business, as one the most effective as well as moving examples of the genre.

More news below.

Alan Murray


Stocks tumble

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average yesterday both had their worst day since 2020, and international stocks are suffering today. The Hang Seng fell 2.5%, the Nikkei 225 1.9%, and Europe's Stoxx 600 by 1,7% at the time of writing. As Fortune's Bernard Warner writes: "The futures markets have been under pressure all morning, making it seem like a question of when, not if, the much-watched index will go full bear." Fortune

Prediction time

Longstanding Fed critic Mohamed El-Erian reckons the U.S. will soon enter a period of 1970s-style stagflation, and investors should brace for a "significant slowdown in growth." He's not the only one: a recent BoA survey shows 77% of investment fund managers expect "below-trend growth and above-trend inflation." Meanwhile, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf reckons "some kind of recession" is imminent in the U.S. Fortune

Russian default

High energy prices may be keeping Russia's economy afloat for now, but the U.S. may be about to force Russia into its first default on foreign-held debt in over a century. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said yesterday that the U.S. was "unlikely" to renew a sanctions waiver that allows Americans to process and accept Russia's sovereign debt payments. Fortune

Google Russia

Google Russia has filed for bankruptcy, thanks to the authorities freezing its bank account there. Google had already suspended its Russian money-making activities, and is on the hook for a mega-fine over its refusal to remove banned content. The company says it will continue to offers its free services in Russia. Fortune


Tinder CEO

Fortune's Emma Hinchliffe profiles Tinder CEO Renate Nyborg, who "seems to have sprung fully formed from the brain of the company’s brand marketing team. The 36-year-old is the ultimate testament to Tinder’s ability to create healthy, long-term relationships: She met her husband on the app six years ago, and still describes herself as a 'happy customer.' She’s also a female CEO—the first in Tinder’s history—who made it her first order of business to dig into the experiences women and LGBTQ people were having on the app." Fortune

Dimon pay

A majority of JPMorgan Chase investors are deeply unhappy at the idea of paying CEO Jamie Dimon a $53.6 million bonus, and voted against the compensation proposal this week. It wasn't a binding vote, though, and the board had little more to say than "it appreciates the feedback from shareholders and takes it very seriously." Fortune


Who is Do Kwon, creator of the now-tanked UST and Luna cryptocurrencies, and how did he get to oversee the project? Fortune's Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez dives in. (Bonus reads: Some South Koreans are convinced now's the time to pile into Luna, and the country's financial regulator is worried; and longtime Luna supporter Michael Novogratz now admits it was "a big idea that failed.") Fortune

Blockchain v. censorship

Tech-savvier Chinese citizens are reported using blockchain technology (it's not clear which blockchain) to skirt censors as they vent about lockdown injustice. It's a useful guerrilla application for the tech, though probably worth nothing that the inability to edit or remove content from blockchains (without forking them) is precisely what makes them unsuitable for general social networking and content dissemination. Financial Times

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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