chapter  Chapter 6
CEO, firm, and worker celebrity
WithRobert van Krieken
Pages 19

Many leading corporations are closely identified with their chief executive officers (CEOs). The dependence of shareholders on various forms of financial and business media outlets reinforces the value of CEO attention capital in the form of celebrity status. The construction of CEOs as celebrities is in practice often difficult to disentangle from the very similar dynamics which can be observed in relation to firms themselves as ‘actors’. Like CEO celebrity, firm celebrity is a product of the inclination in the mass media towards dramatic narratives: stories of conflicts, the firm as a protagonist undergoing character development, laced with new and ‘confidential’ insights into its real nature. Just as the celebrity logic of branding, the pursuit of attention capital characterizes competition between CEOs, firms, and organizations, it can also be seen at play in the self-formation of workers at all levels of any organization.