Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

Even amid divorce Jeff Bezos is world’s 'best brand guardian', report says

If mishandled, the effect of the split on Amazon’s brand value could potentially be well in excess of $10bn

Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon. AFP 
Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon. AFP 

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon, is the world’s best brand guardian despite his impending divorce expected to dent the company's value by up to 10 per cent, according to a report.

Mr Bezos ranked first among 100 chief executives in a listing by Brand Finance, a business valuation consultancy company that used data from the Brand Finance Global 500 2019 report to be released at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 22.

Mr Bezos recently announced he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are seeking a divorce. Ranked as the world's wealthiest person by Forbes and Bloomberg, his fortune is estimated to be about $137 billion.

If mishandled, the effect of the split on Amazon’s brand value could potentially be well in excess of $10bn, with the range of loss between 5 to 10 per cent, according to Brand Finance’s estimates.

The report rates chief executives on how well they are perceived as brand managers and ambassadors - reflecting their success in marketing investment, stakeholder equity and business performance.

Last week, Amazon surpassed tech giant Microsoft to become the world's biggest publicly traded company by market capitalisation.

“Developing a strong brand is now more important than ever, not only for commercial success, but for longevity of the relationship between a brand and its stakeholders,” said David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance.

Chief executives are also required to forge an authentic public profile and respond earnestly to reputational crises – especially as customers become more discerning in their experiences and expectations, said Mr Haigh.

Mr Bezos is followed by Japanese car maker Toyota’s chief executive Akio Toyoda and French luxury brand LVMH’s top boss Bernard Arnault.

“Mr Toyoda has survived the very public reputational disaster in 2010 as a result of faulty accelerator pedals linked to dozens of deaths and injuries,” said the report.

Mr Toyoda was slammed for the way he handled the safety scandal and cited as a poor brand guardian but he has now, after nine years, come back as the world’s second-best executive for brand management.

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Read more:

A perfect storm for Apple’s downward outlook, experts say

How Amazon edged past Microsoft to become the world's most valuable company

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Tech majors Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, Google and Facebook also feature among the leading 20 companies. Top of the tech tycoons is Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple, which recently revised its revenue outlook downwards for the first time in nearly two decades, citing economic slowdown in China.

Search engine giant Google lowered in its brands image as its chief executive Sundar Pichai came in 13th. In December, Mr Pichai testified before the US judiciary committee on a number of issues including data privacy and the reported launch of a censored search engine in China.

The Brand Finance’s top 100 chief executives represent a variety of industries and countries - 37 per cent are from companies based in the US and 22 per cent from China.

Updated: January 15, 2019 09:58 AM

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