In today’s digital world a company executive has little privacy, their lives are often made very public through social media and other online activity. The mismanagement of executive reputation can have wide reaching consequences for a company.

Once a negative statement or piece of information about a company executive is released, it has the potential to go viral within minutes, being published in news outlets and on social media profiles worldwide. The authority of these types of sites means that any negative content about an individual is likely to appear on page one of Google, causing damage to their online reputation.

Today it’s only too easy for the internet to identify who a company’s top managers are. Therefore, within minutes of negative information about one of the executives hitting the web, it gets associated with the company and has the potential to drags the company’s entire reputation down.

Brendan Eich: A Case Study

Despite the fact that he invented JavaScript, how many of you knew who Brendan Eich was? That was until the personal views of the recently appointed CEO of Mozilla hit the headlines.

Eich was lambasted on Twitter for donating to the ‘Yes on Proposition 8’ campaign in the US state of California to repeal same sex marriage back in 2008. This directly went against the company’s equality policies, and the pervasive nature of the Twitter platform ensured that the online reputations of both himself and his company were dragged through the mud.

Eich has now resigned, but it’s had a lingering effect on Mozilla’s online reputation. Despite the large nature of the company, usually enough to keep a page one on Google clear through periods of minor scandal, Mozilla’s online profile is riddled with negative press stories concerning the Eich situation.

A Lesson in Corporate Online Reputation

This case study is a valuable lesson when it comes to the regulation of corporate online reputation. In a world where social media means that the individual is recognised as a part of the whole, the actions and words of those who act as the face of your company are vital to the management of your online reputation.

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