These are the 'most connected' CEOs using social media: analysis

Business leaders are slowly joining the digital age by communicating on social media.

According to a Connected Leadership report from Brunswick Group, CEOs from the U.S. and the U.K. in the S&P 500 and FTSE 350 are the most “connected” through their social media profiles.

The firm analyzed factors like activity, engagement and verification of the CEOs’ Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram profiles. It also looked at their presence on corporate websites and Wikipedia. According to the report, the data was collected from April 3 to April 15 this year.

“Our research found that these top Connected Leaders represent nearly every industry, implying that benefits exist for a range of stakeholders,” the report said. “Surprisingly, younger CEOs were no more likely to top the rankings than older CEOs.”

The report found that Walmart’s CEO, Doug McMillon, was the most “connected," followed by Allergan’s Brent Saunders and PepsiCo’s Ramon Laguarta.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WMT WALMART INC. 175.56 +0.15 +0.09%
AGN n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.
PEP PEPSICO INC. 169.60 +1.35 +0.80%

However, only about 48 percent of the CEOs analyzed actually had a social media presence and only one in four have posted anything in the last year.

Brunswick Group also surveyed about 4,000 employees and about 800 financial publication readers in the U.S. and the U.K., asking if they expected CEOs to be on social media and what they wanted executives to talk about.

It found that 65 percent of American employees and 73 percent of U.K. employees believe it is important for CEOs to communicate on social media, while 78 percent of American financial publication readers and 81 percent of U.K. financial publication readers believe the same.

“This isn’t surprising given the degree to which they rely on social media to stay informed,” the report said. “In fact, four out of five employees believe their CEO is already using social media as part of their work, notwithstanding our research demonstrating that the majority of CEOs are not.”

The survey also looked at how potential employees check a CEO’s social media account before joining a company, how important leadership is for employee retention, how CEOs are using each of the four social media platforms and which industries have the most CEOs connecting online.


Here are the top 10 “most connected” CEOs, according to the Connected Leadership index, and their social media profiles:

1. Doug McMillon, Walmart

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram

2. Brent Saunders, Allergan

LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram

3. Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

4. Adena Friedman, Nasdaq

LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

5. Dan Schulman, PayPal

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook

6. Hans Vestberg, Verizon Communications

LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram

7. Ben van Beurden, Royal Dutch Shell

LinkedIn, Twitter

8. Mary Barra, General Motors

LinkedIn, Twitter

9. Lynn Good, Duke Energy 


10. Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines