Chief Executive Officer (CEO) brands that shape stakeholders’ perceptions have become a central component of companies’ strategic communication due to the CEO brand’s substantial contribution to the perception of the company’s brand, to its reputation, and thus to its performance. However, the concept of CEO brand equity is still under-researched. This study offers a first-time, empirical implementation of the CEO brand equity conceptual model, comparing the strongest Israeli CEO brand’s equity between two different periods (peak and crisis) through two central stakeholder groups’ perceptions: media (content analysis); financial analysts (in-depth interviews). The findings indicate significant differences exist between the two periods–strongly suggesting the model’s utility as a professional, strategic communication tool for assessing CEO brands’ contribution to the company, while offering a better understanding of CEO brand strengths and weaknesses. The CEO brands can also be taken as examples for leader branding of other organizations (nonprofit or governmental etc.).
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