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Faith in CEOs Rises in Korn/Ferry Confidence in Leadership Index

April 13, 2010
Surveyed Executives in BRIC Nations are the Most Optimistic about the Direction of Corporate Leadership

LOS ANGELES, April 13, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --The Korn/Ferry Institute's Confidence in Leadership Index shows that support for CEOs worldwide has inched up over the past year, and that optimism about the direction of leadership is again on the rise. The survey of executives from 13 nations also found that those working in the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are the most positive about the direction of corporate leadership. Those in United States and the United Kingdom remain the least optimistic.

The study focuses on opinions of global executives about the leadership within their organizations. The analysis revealed interesting trends over the past year. Of six "layers" of corporate leadership (from self-assessed rankings of one's own leadership ability to credibility of the C-suite and board of directors), only CEOs showed quarter-over-quarter improvement. The mean score for CEOs has gained four points, from 67 in Q2 2009, to 71 in Q1 2010.

"Increased confidence at the CEO level is a powerful indicator of business recovery," said Ana Dutra, CEO, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. "Leaders at the top of the house set the tone for their organizations, and steadily increasing support indicates that CEOs' actions are instilling confidence in their employees, peers and directors."

In addition, data shows wide differences in how executives around the globe feel about the direction of corporate leadership. On a scale from -100 (getting worse) to +100 (getting better), China, India, Brazil and Russia expressed the strongest view that their corporate leadership is improving, posting marks of 53, 52, 44 and 26 respectively against a global mean of 22. The mean scores of Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. were slightly negative: -1, -4 and -5 respectively, representing the bottom three positions. Globally, the Direction of Leadership index climbed by 3.7 points to 26.3 in Q1 -- the high for the last 12 months.

Significant findings from the full-year analysis include:

  • India's executives rank the credibility of its CEOs (81) and the credibility of corporate leadership in general (78) highest among 13 countries in the global sample. The global mean for CEO credibility was 69 and for corporate leadership in general it was 70.
  • Canada (83), Australia (81) and the U.S. (78) are the most trusting of their corporate leaders to adhere to ethical business practices. Japan (59) and Italy (57) fell well below the global average of 70.
  • The ability to deal with business strategy was the factor the surveyed executives found most important.

Significant findings from Q1 2010 include:

  • North American executives continue to rank that region's overall corporate leadership highest for credibility, with a score of 75 on a 100-point scale. Europeans' ranking of their leadership declined by two points, back to its Q1 2009 low of 63. The global average is 70.
  • Every category in the Leadership Trust Index slipped in Q1 2010, and the overall Leadership Trust Index declined by three points to 69.
  • The optimism gap narrowed. North America jumped 10.2 points last quarter on a scale from -100 to +100, but remained the least optimistic region. Central/South America dropped 5.6 points but remained the most optimistic region.

The Confidence in Leadership Index asks executives in 13 countries questions that produce metrics for: 1) credibility of leadership; 2) trust of leadership; 3) leadership characteristics ("factors"); and 4) direction of leadership. The study has been fielded quarterly since Q2 2009. The Q1 survey was fielded by Braun Research, Inc. Feb. 19-26, 2010.

About the Confidence in Leadership Index:

The Confidence in Leadership Index is conducted quarterly via an online survey completed by 500 adults employed in management-level or higher positions. The survey was conducted in the following countries:

    -- Australia       -- Italy
    -- Brazil          -- Japan
    -- Canada          -- Russia
    -- China           -- Spain
    -- France          -- United Kingdom
    -- Germany         -- United States
    --    India

The margin of error within each wave is +/- 4.4%. Braun Research was commissioned to facilitate the study and analyze results. For complete survey results and a webcast of the report highlights, please visit

About The Korn/Ferry Institute

The Korn/Ferry Institute was founded to serve as a premier global voice on a range of talent management and leadership issues. The Institute commissions, originates and publishes groundbreaking research utilizing Korn/Ferry's unparalleled expertise in executive recruitment and talent development combined with its preeminent behavioral research library. The Institute is dedicated to improving the state of global human capital for businesses of all sizes around the world.

About Korn/Ferry International

Korn/Ferry International (NYSE: KFY), with a presence throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is a premier global provider of talent management solutions celebrating 40 years in business. Based in Los Angeles, the firm delivers an array of solutions that help clients to attract, develop, retain and sustain their talent. Visit for more information on the Korn/Ferry International family of companies, and for thought leadership, intellectual property and research.

SOURCE Korn/Ferry International

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