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September 29, 2023

According to Some List, Big 4 CEOs Are Among the Best ‘Brand Guardians’ in the World

It’s listicle time, you guys. This one comes from an outfit called Brand Finance, which calls itself “the world’s leading independent branded business valuation and strategy consultancy.” At today’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Brand Finance released its Global 500 report, which ranked the world’s 500 most valuable brands.

The report also ranked the top 100 CEO brand managers, or “brand guardians,” in the world—those who are most successful in marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance, among other metrics.

Among the highlights of the report is: “Three of the Big Four brands: Deloitte, PwC, and EY, post an elite AAA+ brand strength rating, while KPMG trails behind.” (LOL!)

Anyway, are you ready? First, here are the top 10 most valuable brands in the world, for comparison sake (methodology is explained in the report):

1. Amazon (same ranking in 2018); brand value of $187.9 billion
2. Apple (same ranking in 2018), $153.6 billion
3. Google (same ranking in 2018), $142.8 billion
4. Microsoft (No. 6 in 2018), $119.6 billion
5. Samsung (No. 4 in 2018), $91.2 billion
6. AT&T (No. 5 in 2018), $87 billion
7. Facebook (same ranking in 2018), $83.2 billion
8. ICBC (No. 10 in 2018), $79.8 billion
9. Verizon (No. 8 in 2018), $71.2 billion
10. China Construction Bank (No. 11 in 2018), $69.7 billion

And here’s where the Big 4 landed on the list:

46. Deloitte (No. 57 in 2018), brand value of $29.6 billion
61. PwC (No. 48 in 2018), $24.9 billion
64. EY (No. 83 in 2018), $23.2 billion
134. KPMG (No. 120 in 2018), N/A

The Big 4 did so well that it even got its own section in the report:

The Big Four professional services firms also achieved noteworthy performance in terms of brand strength this year, with three of them posting the same elite AAA+ brand rating as Ferrari. Deloitte leads the charge as the strongest and most valuable of the accounting and audit giants with a BSI [Brand Strength Index] score of 91.2 (brand value US$29.6 billion), pulling ahead of last year’s sector leader, PwC, this year with a BSI score of 89.8 (US$24.9 billion). EY also continues to attain elite AAA+ status, with a BSI of 89.7 (US$23.2 billion) having achieved fast growth in both brand strength and brand value in recent years since 2015.

Do you think KPMG’s no-good, rotten 2018 affected its brand strength for 2019? If you said “yes,” you would be correct!

Though the Big Four hold steady overall among commercial services brands with regards to brand strength, KPMG trails behind with a BSI of 83.2, down 4% from last year. The KPMG brand has been impacted by controversies in 2018, including the widely covered audit of now defunct UK construction firm Carillion.

Before we get to how the Big 4 CEOs fared in Brand Finance’s list, here’s who it considers the top 10 CEOs in the world (methodology explained in the report):

1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon, 72.4 Brand Guardianship Index score
2. Akio Toyoda, Toyota, 71.6
3. Bernard Arnault, LVMH, 68.4
4. Tim Cook, Apple, 66.9
5. Robin Li, Baidu, 64.7
6. Ginni Rometty, IBM, 64.7
7. Bob Iger, Disney, 62.4
8. Qingping Li, China CITIC Bank, 62.2
9. Satya Nadella, Microsoft, 61.5
10. Fred Smith, FedEx, 60.8

And here are the top Big 4 CEO brand guardians of the galaxy:

42. Mark Weinberger, EY, 48.6
47. Punjit Renjen, Deloitte, 47.7
52. Bob Moritz, PwC, 47.4
71. Lynne Doughtie, KPMG, 44.3

Doughtie is one of only five women in Brand Finance’s CEO ranking.

It’ll be interesting to see if Weinberger’s retirement later this year affects EY’s ranking in next year’s list, and if KPMG can get its shit together to improve its brand image. At least we know the firm’s logo looks like it tastes good. And maybe Phil Mickelson will win more PGA tournaments this year. Who knows!

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