Developed Europe Executive Team
As the world slowly begins to shake off the unprecedented effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, corporate executives around the globe have been forced to grapple with challenges that even the most forward-thinking business leaders couldn’t have imagined just two short years ago. For many of the top-scoring chief executives in Institutional Investor’s 2021 All-Europe Executive Team, supply-chain issues top the list.
“Supply chains around the world are in significant disarray,” said Nestlé’s Ulf Mark Schneider, the top-ranked chief executive in the food sector. “The consequences are rising raw material and freight costs.” Schneider said that the secret to overcoming these issues — and coping with an uncertain geopolitical environment — lies in increased agility and flexibility. For him, that’s not about knowing all the answers, but knowing he can delegate decisions to those who do: “We rely strongly on our people in the markets to know the best way to deliver for consumers, the company and society.”
The pandemic has also heralded a kinder way of doing business for this year’s top-scoring chief executives. “Leaders need to be empathetic, agile and lead with integrity,” said Capgemini’s Aiman Ezzat, the top scoring chief executive in the software technology sector. “The experiences of the last 18 months have brought this into sharp focus for me.”
At Anglo American, Mark Cutifani, the top scoring chief executive in metals and mining, said that the coronavirus forced firms to reassess their goals and values. “Companies had to demonstrate that they were really there for their communities when they needed them the most,” he said. “I’m proud of how Anglo American rose to the challenge.” Cutifani took the “tough but necessary” decision to close mines at the start of the pandemic. Even during the closures, Anglo American guaranteed salaries for its employees in South Africa, as well as housing allowances and company contributions to medical and pensions funds. “Being a partner to our local communities is much more than simply providing employment opportunities,” he said.
Several chief executives said they see the pandemic as a test case for further interruptions on the horizon. “We continue to expect an elevated level of geopolitical volatility,” said Nestlé’s Schneider. Faury agreed. While production at Airbus is down, the company is ramping up its resilience for future shocks. “We learned a lot from this crisis,” he said, “and we concluded that maintaining the status quo cannot be an option.”
To determine the members of Institutional Investor’s 2021 Developed Europe Executive Team, we surveyed buy-side analysts, money managers and sell-side researchers at securities firms and financial institutions that cover the region, including those who cast and received votes in this year’s Europe Research Team survey. Survey results reflect the opinions from 1,536 investment professionals at 644 financial services firms.
We asked the participants to rate the chief executive officers, chief financial officers and investor relations professionals at the companies in their coverage universes. CEOs were rated on their credibility, leadership and communication. CFOs were rated on their ability in capital allocation, financial stewardship and communication. For the Investor Relations programs, companies were rated on the following attributes: productivity of NDR/road shows/conferences; earnings calls; business and market knowledge; responsiveness; authority and credibility; timing of financial disclosure; consistency of financial disclosure; and granularity of financial disclosure. Additionally, voters also rated each company on the quality of analyst/investor events and ESG metrics.
All votes are weighted by rating (five being excellent; one being average) and attributes within each category were aggregated to create the CEO, CFO, IR Professional, IR Program, ESG and Analyst/Investor Event rankings. The overall rankings in each of the categories are based on combined buy- and sell-side votes. Separate rosters (buy side, sell side) are also available for each award classification.
Using the same approach as above, a separate ranking was determined to create the 2021 Developed Europe Small & Mid-cap Executive Team ranking, where we recognized companies with less than $10 billion in market capitalization.
Honored Companies are companies who achieved at least one published position. To earn the designation of Most Honored Company in the overall ranking, a company must achieve a weighted score of ten or more points across the six categories in the combined, buy-side and sell-side rankings, wherein each first-place position is worth three points; second place, two; and third place, one. In the small & mid-cap ranking, a company must achieve four points in the combined rankings across the six categories to be a Most Honored Company.
To be eligible for inclusion on the 2021 Europe Executive Team, a company must be headquartered or have operational or executive headquarters in the region. We keep confidential the identities of the survey respondents to ensure their continuing cooperation. Voters must meet eligibility requirements, and winners must achieve a minimum vote count. All ballots are subject to review by our Research Operations Group.