CEOs slip to 4th place on credibility index: Study

New Delhi: Amid tough economic and business conditions, the CEOs in India have slipped to fourth position in terms of their credibility perception and are now less trusted than even the common people, a survey has said.

According to an annual `Trust Barometer` index, compiled by global public relations and consultancy major Edelman, the CEOs have dropped to fourth position, from the top position a year ago, as per the findings of a perception survey about credibility of persons in areas like businesses, government, NGOs and media.

The top-three spots are now occupied by academicians, technical experts and the "person like me" or the common people, the survey found.

Media, as also the social networking arena, have seen significant improvement in their credibility levels, while the trust level for businesses, government and NGOs remained largely stagnant over the past year.

"…Credibility of CEOs in India has decreased significantly, dropping from the number one spot to the number four spot, after an academic, technical expert and a `person like me`, in that order," the `Edelman`s Trust Barometer 2012` report said.

The survey was conducted among more than 30,000 people in 25 countries including 1,000 Indian and covered trust in four areas – businesses, government, NGOs and media.

As per the findings, a systemic decline in trust in most institutions globally has seen a "person like me" or the common person re-emerging as one of the most credible people, with the biggest increase in credibility since 2004, and now trails only academics and technical experts.

The survey, which gauged the confidence levels in the last year, found that confidence in media has risen from 50 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent. A number of scams being unearthed during the year 2011 might have worked in favour of the Indian media.

Overall, trust in media rose above 50 per cent for the first time globally. Besides, trust in social media in India showed a double digit rise, from 19 per cent to 29 per cent.

Globally, social-networking, micro-blogging, and content-sharing sites witnessed the dramatic percentage increase as trusted sources of information about a company, rising by 88 per cent, 86 per cent, and 75 percent, respectively.

Trust levels in business (69 per cent), government (53 per cent) and NGOs (67 per cent) remain stagnant in India. "Business is substantially more trusted than government. But it has its own hurdles to clear. In this year`s Trust Barometer in India, business and government are both not meeting the general public`s expectations," Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman said.

"The results in the general publics category throw up calls for greater protection for consumers from irresponsible behavior by business," he added.

In terms of sectors, technology, banks, automotive and telecommunications remain the most trusted industries in India with trust levels ranging from 80 per cent (telecom) to 92 per cent (technology).