Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

January 24, 2005 06:00 ET

DOMINIC D'ALESSANDRO NAMED MOST RESPECTED CEO BY PEERS

Paul Tellier And Clive Beddoe Tie For Second Attention: Business/Financial Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 24, 2005) - After a busy year at the helm of Manulife Financial Corporation that saw him successfully captain the largest cross-border transaction in Canadian history by merging Manulife with John Hancock in the United States and thus create the largest public company and largest life insurance company in Canada based on market capitalization, Dominic D'Allessandro has clearly earned the accolades of his peers - as he is chosen as the CEO that they most admire and respect in 2004.

And, when it comes to the defining characteristics of the most admired and respected CEOs in this country, the four categories which carry the most weight with CEOs are:

-Vision, focus, discipline or good strategy (52%, up 10 points since 2003);
-Financial performance (34%, down 4 points since 2003);
-Track record (27%, down 12 points since 2003); and
-Shareholder or investment value (22%, up 1 point since 2003).

Interestingly, many fewer CEOs in 2004 (18%) than in 2003 (34%) point to "corporate governance or leadership" as a defining characteristic of their most admired and respected CEO (down 16 points).

Choosing from a list of priorities for their company in the future, six in ten CEOs (57%) say they will most focus on the "training of employees", while approximately half say they will focus on "process and systems review" (46%), and "new resources including people" (45%).

In terms of CEO responsibilities, six in seven CEOs (84%, down 6 points) say that companies that are more respected by the public enjoy a premium in their share price (down slightly from 90% in 2003), and thus seven in ten (68%, up 1 point) CEOs state that "a greater part of their job these days involves building respect for their company among the general public", essentially unchanged from 2003.

These are the findings from the Tenth Annual Canada's Most Respected Corporations Survey sponsored by KPMG and conducted by Ipsos-Reid. The survey was conducted between September and November, 2004. The survey involved interviews of 263 of the leading CEOs in Canada.

CEOs Choose D'Alessandro As Most Admired And Respected CEO

Dominic D'Alessandro's successful merger of Manulife Financial and John Hancock Insurance this past year has swelled the ranks of Canada's business leaders who most admire and respect the CEO. He emerges this year with 10% of CEOs personally writing his name in the slot for the CEO they most admire and respect.

Following behind Mr. D'Allessandro are:
-Paul Tellier former CEO of Bombardier (4%),
-Clive Beddoe CEO of WestJet Airlines Ltd. (4%),
-Remi Marcoux CEO of Transcontinental Inc. (3%), and
-Ed Clark CEO of TD Bank Financial Group (3%).
All other CEOs mentioned received 2% of the vote or less.

"Vision, Focus, Discipline" Still Top Attribute That CEOs Admire And Respect In Their Peers (Has Increased by 10 Points) - "Corporate Governance Or Leadership" Drops Sharply (Down 16 Points)…

When asked to identify what they most admired and respected about their CEO selection, CEOs are offer a wide range of responses, including:
· Vision, focus, discipline or good strategy (52%, up 10 points from 2003);
· Financial performer (34%, down 4 points from 2003);
· Track record (27%, down 12 points from 2003);
· Shareholder or investment value (22%, down 1 point from 2003);
· Honest, trustworthy or ethical (19%, up 4 points from 2003);
· Driven or aggressive (19%, up 5 points from 2003);
· Corporate governance or leadership (18%, down 16 points from 2003);
· Social responsibility, community involvement or corporate citizenship (18%, up 7 points from 2003);
· Innovative or creative (15%, unchanged from 2003);
· Good staff, management or employee relations (13%, up 1 point from 2003);
· Global presence/international expansion (13%, down 2 points from 2003);
· Smart (8%, not mentioned in 2003); and
· Customer service (7%, not mentioned in 2003).
Meanwhile, one in ten CEOs (8%) mention some "other" quality.

Looking Ahead: Training Employees (57%), Process And Systems Review (46%), And New Resources (45%), Are Top Areas Of Focus For Canada's CEOs…

From a list of possible upcoming priorities, CEOs were asked which ones they were going to most focus on to help their company succeed.

When the aggregate responses are compiled we can see that the top priorities with which CEOs are most going to focus on are:
· Training employees (57%); followed by
· Process and systems review (46%);
· New resources (including people) (45%);
· Investing in technology (40%);
· Organizational structure and change (35%); and
· Investing in infrastructure (33%).
A very small proportion of CEOs (1%) say they are not going to most focus on any of the priorities listed, while 4% "don't know" which ones they are most going to focus on.


A Significant Majority (84%) Indicate That Companies That Are More Respected By The Public Enjoy A Premium In Their Share Price…

According to Canada's CEOs, a company's level of respect in the public eye has a definite impact on the bottom line. A good majority of CEOs (84%) agree with the statement that "companies that are more respected by the public enjoy a premium in their share price" (35% "strongly agree", 49% "somewhat agree") compared to 15% who disagree (2% "strongly disagree", 13% "somewhat disagree") and 1% who "don't know".

Thus, Seven In Ten (68%) Are Spending More Time Building Respect…

Seven in ten (68%) CEOs are putting their efforts behind this view, as they agree with the statement that "I'm finding a greater part of my job these days involves building respect for my company among the general public"(24% "strongly agree", 44% "somewhat agree"), compared with 31% who don't agree with this statement (9% "strongly disagree", 22% "somewhat disagree), and 1% who "don't know". These numbers match closely with CEOs' views in 2003 (when 67% agreed with this statement).

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For more information on this news release, please contact:
John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs
(416) 324-2900

For full tabular results, please visit our website at www.ipsos.ca.
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