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Inaugural Korn/Ferry 'Confidence in Leadership Index' Reveals Stability Despite Economic Turbulence

September 17, 2009
Regional Differences Emerge in Global Leadership Study - North America Demonstrates Most Positive Attitudes Towards Corporate Leadership; Europe Shows Most Skepticism

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Korn/Ferry Institute today revealed a new quarterly study designed to reflect the attitudes and opinions of global executives on corporate leadership. The inaugural "Confidence in Leadership Index" shows that despite a turbulent economy and broad swings in a variety of economic indicators, confidence in leadership globally remained stable between May 2009 (when the first benchmark survey was issued) and August 2009. The survey was fielded by Braun Research, Inc.

The Confidence in Leadership Index asks global executives critical questions that produce metrics for: 1) credibility of leadership, 2) trust of leadership, 3) leadership characteristics ("factors") and 4) direction of leadership.

Credibility of Leadership:

Initial results show confidence in leadership is highest in North America (rated 75 on a 100 point scale), followed by Asia Pacific (71), Central/South America (67) and Europe (63). The average confidence score globally was 69 points - identical to findings in the benchmark survey conducted in May 2009.

Over the same period, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average and Japan's Nikkei 225 have both risen by nearly 1000 points, while U.S. and European unemployment both increased by 0.3 percent. The Conference Board's U.S.-based Consumer Confidence Index showed significant fluctuation between May and August, but ended the period relatively flat, decreasing by less than a point. Korn/Ferry will track the Confidence in Leadership Index against global economic indicators over time to determine correlations.

"Economics and financial models can only explain a fraction of what we see in today's complex business environment. Behaviors and perceptions are equally valuable gauges of performance," said Ana Dutra, president and CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting. "Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting bases our talent consulting services on research combined with hands-on experience, which is why we initiated the Confidence in Leadership Index. Over time, we will track the mindset of global executives against other established market indicators. We believe that a higher confidence in leadership translates to greater employee satisfaction, fosters innovation and helps sustain growth."


Trust in Leadership:

The survey also asked executives about trust in leadership - a corollary of confidence. Again, North American respondents led other regions by a significant margin with an average "trust" score of 82 on a 100-point scale. Asia Pacific followed in second with an average score of 72. Central/South America came in third with a score of 69. And Europe again trailed the pack with an average "trust" ranking of 65. The average trust score globally was 72.

Leadership Factors:

In an exercise designed to rank the most important characteristics of leadership, executives allocated 100 total points across seven categories, resulting in the following ranked list of leadership "drivers:"

1) Strategic Skill (19)
2) Operating Skill (16)
3) Personal and Interpersonal Skills (14)
4) Courage (14)
5) Energy and Drive (14)
6) Managing Financial Performance (13)
7) Organizational Positioning Skills (12)

Korn/Ferry will be studying changes in the drivers and geographic variations over time, but the early results show a slight decrease in "strategic skill" and slight increases in "courage" and "energy and drive" since the benchmark survey was issued.

Direction of Leadership:

Finally, respondents were asked if leadership was headed in "the right direction" or "going the wrong way." The resulting global ranking showed an encouraging response of +29.6 on a scale that ranged from -100 to +100. Central/South American respondents were most favorable about the direction of leadership responding with a +48.7 average. Asia Pacific followed in second with a +43.1 average. European respondents average +24.7 and North American executives averaged +12.5.

Central/South America demonstrated a significant increase in this ranking which rose 7.1 points over the benchmark study in May.

About the Confidence in Leadership Index:

The "Confidence in Leadership Index" was conducted via an online survey completed by 500 adults employed in management-level or higher positions. The first wave of 500 adults was fielded May 22 - June 1, 2009. The second wave of 500 adults was fielded August 26-31, 2009. Results will be aggregated for a year-end report in January 2010 and the next quarterly report will be issued in December 2009.

The survey was conducted in the following countries:

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

The margin of error within each wave is +/- 4.4%. Braun Research was commissioned to facilitate the study and analyze results.

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. 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

Stephanie Mitchell of Korn/Ferry International, +1-650-508-7465,; or Kevin Oates, +1-310-584-8331, cell, +1-310-869-7519,, for Korn/Ferry International

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