Germans leave UK bosses in the shade

Ever wondered how the UK's top leaders compare to their European counterparts? Well now we know...

by
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

According to the latest Thomson Reuters Extel survey, which asks investment professionals to rate the best in the business, just three Brits make it into the top 10 European CEOs: Diageo’s Paul Walsh at two, Tesco’s Sir Terry Leahy at six, and BG Group’s Frank Chapman at eight. Even if we look further afield to the top 25, we only find three more UK representatives: Mike Turner at BAe, Stephen Hester at British Land (a bit of a surprise, given the amount of stick he’s come in for this year amid huge write-downs) and Michael Spencer at inter-dealer broker ICAP. So not a bad representation, but given London’s status as the financial capital of Europe, you might have expected more...

The Extel survey, which is run annually, asks over 7,500 investment professionals – including fund managers, brokers and corporate execs – to rate the top European firms in a number of categories. And since many of these people make a (very lucrative) living by evaluating said companies, they’re presumably better-placed than most to judge the effectiveness of the people in charge. After all, good leaders will make them great returns – which mean big fat bonuses at the end of the year...

But although the UK might consider itself the destination of choice for the crème de la crème of European business, Germany seems to be home to Europe’s top managerial talent. Top of the pile was E.ON’s Wulf Bernotat, while no fewer than half of the top ten are German, including Continental’s Manfred Wennemer, Daimler’s Dieter Zetsche; Jurgen Grossmann of RWE and Michael Diekmann of Allianz. What’s more, the bosses of Wienerberger, Fresenius, SAP, BASF, and EPCOS also feature in the top 25.

The top 25 CFOs list was a similar story; Colin Day at Reckitt Benckiser and Nick Rose at Diageo both made the top five, but the only other British representation came from George Rose at BAe. Again, Germans were prominent, while Fresenius CFO Lawrence Rosen was voted the top dog (although he’s an American working for a German company, if that’s any consolation).

In other words, it's not just penalty shoot-outs that they're better at than us...

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