Many CEOs fail in crisis management

  • Business
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2003

MANY Malaysian chief executive officers (CEOs) are failures when it comes to crisis management due to their bureaucratic mentality, a communications expert said yesterday. 

Compared with their US and European counterparts, local CEOs were often unprepared to face the media with ease at short notice and come across as being uncomfortable and under intense pressure, said Alpha Platform Sdn Bhd senior consultant Tham Wei Wei. 

“These CEOs are unable to handle crisis situations, especially those that require them to communicate with the media, regulatory authorities and shareholders. This is hardly the image of leadership they want to portray to worried investors, regulators and their employees, especially during a crisis, so they hide behind technical jargon when they are unable to answer queries,” she said in a statement. 

Tham also said journalists who had tight deadlines to meet were often forced to turn to other sources within the same industry for comments. Analysts often weighed in by providing a dim outlook resulting in the CEO being sidelined and a negative story subsequently emerging. 

Such situations can be avoided by CEOs who take lessons on media relations, crisis management and, presentation and communication skills among others.  

Defining a crisis as “a significant business disruption, which stimulates extensive media coverage”, she said the test of a company's competence and the real challenge to its reputation lay more in the way in which the CEO responded to a crisis than in the fact the crisis arose in the first place.  

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