If you came here expecting a long list you’re going to be disappointed. While most of us have embraced social media one extent or another it seems public enthusiasm for Twitter is yet to reach the top of Britain’s big companies. Just five of the FTSE 100’s CEOs actively use Twitter and while a few more have got accounts they mostly lie unused.
Even WPP’s Martin Sorrell, ITV’s Adam Crozier and Sky’s Jeremy Darroch, three of the most powerful media executives in the world have decided to steer clear - though the former is the subject of a not especially funny spoof account. So too is Nicandro Durante, boss of British American Tobacco, whose impersonator describes him as ‘The big swinging cigar chomping top dog CEO.’
Should more chief execs be on the site? There’s of course much to be said for building a public persona. Being more accessible can be better for one’s personal brand and that can have a positive effect on the reputation of the company.
Many big name British entrepreneurs have accounts, including LastMinute.com founders Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, Alan Sugar and, of course, Richard Branson. But then they have less to lose when it comes to sharing information than those who run big listed companies that are bound up in stock market disclosure rules. An ill-timed post from a FTSE CEO could land them in big trouble.
Also they would likely get plenty of grief from customers and campaigners. Imagine the abuse that would be meted out to the bosses of energy, transport or tobacco companies were they to stick their heads above the parapet. And of course their days are already busy enough without having to think up some ideas of things to Tweet about. They could get their comms people to run it for them, but there’s not much point in doing it if your feed is going to be full of insincere platitudes and corporate messages.
In no particular order, here are the FTSE 100 CEOs that are on Twitter:
Sebastian James, Dixons Carphone: The retailer, a school chum of former PM David Cameron, is a among the more prolific tweeters among his peers. Lots of pictures of shops. Read MT’s interview with James.
Archie Bethel, Babcock. This account appears to be dormant. The engineering boss hasn’t posted any tweets of his own but has done a few retweets.
Xavier Rolet, London Stock Exchange. A pretty active tweeter, follow Rolet for all things financial.
John Pettigrew, National Grid. The National Grid lifer hasn’t tweeted since 2014 – perhaps he’s busy keeping the lights on?
John Fallon, Pearson. The textbook publisher’s feed is full of fairly interesting articles about education, and the odd personal titbit.
Paul Polman, Unilever. Sustainability obsessed Polman tweets a lot about climate change, development and social justice.
Breon Corcoran, Paddy Power Betfair. MT isn’t sure of the veracity of this lo-fi account, which hasn’t even got a proper profile pic.
Ben Van Beurden, Shell. Possibly the product of a short-lived social media push by Shell’s comms team, this account has never posted any tweets and only follows a bunch of Shell accounts and news sources.
Rakesh Kapoor, Reckitt Benckiser. Not an active tweeter.
Stephen Kelly, Sage. The software boss has cultivated an 18,000-strong following - up from 14,000 when MT interview him just six months ago.
Vittorio Colao, Vodafone. The telecoms chief hasn’t got the hang of things just yet.