VENTURES AFRICA – Woolworths has emerged as the best company with a robust reputation in South Africa, according to a new survey released by RepTrak Pulse. The company scored 78.59 percent, asserting it as the company with the best reputation among South Africa’s top listed companies. It out-ran other companies like MTN, ABSA, Old Mutual and Standard Bank, which were among the top four companies last year.
The survey, which was conducted by Reputation Institute, a global consultancy firm, shows that Woolworths scored nearly ten points more than MTN, placing the latter on second position. The retail company topped all seven-reputation drivers – products and services, innovation, performance, citizenship, workplace, governance, and leadership. Other companies on the list scored below seventy points, giving them an average reputation.
Reputation Institute’s South African Managing Director, Dominik Heil, cites lack of visible business leadership as the main cause for declining confidence in corporate South Africa.
“Our corporate business leaders see themselves as running a slick operation that produces returns, and that’s where it stops. We have a vacuum in visible leaders that are prepared to stand up for a certain vision of society despite the fact that the companies they lead are having a significant effect on vast segments of the population and the nation as a whole.” He said.
Adding that South Africans are giving up on private enterprise.
According to Heil, in the past, corporate leaders like Anton Rupert and Harry Oppenheimer had an integrated vision of the society and economy and “were prepared to play in the public space even if it meant being criticised by the government”.
“Now board chairmen and chief executives are no longer demonstrating their role as corporate citizens. This has had not only a negative impact on the reputations of their companies but also weakens a critical pillar of stability for South Africa,” says Heil. If corporate leaders were going to play a public role, it is important for them to demonstrate that they stood for something. “It shouldn’t be just about criticising the government,” he stated.
The RepTrak Pulse survey is conducted annually by collecting over 3,000 ratings from the economically active segments of the general public in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and the Eastern Cape.
According to analysis from the report, majority of South Africa Banks suffered reputation decline with only three banks in the top twenty- among them are ABSA (3rd), Standard Bank (4th) and Nedbank at the 8th position.
FNB however emerged top as the bank with the strongest reputation but it was not listed because it is a wholly owned subsidiary.
The Reputation Institute pointed out that the declining reputations in the banking sector are more moderate than in the other industries and that the country’s financial sector continued to perform well in comparison to its global counterparts, which tend to score poorly amongst their respective audiences.
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