Business leader cults

The concept of cult is common in American society. A cult figure is a popular individual who has strong appeal, someone whose reputation is inflated in contrast to their success. The cult of personality or charismatic authority arises when an individual employs mass media in order to establish an idealized image of oneself to the public.

Many American companies – especially those operating globally – link their CEO personally with their products and services. These CEOs are the first and most important salesperson of the company. They maintain a personal dialogue with investors, customers, and key suppliers. They are a constant presence in the media. CEO as CMO – Chief Message Officer.

Some strive for and achieve a kind of cult status. See the late Steve Jobs – Apple, Bill Gates – Microsoft, Jeff Bezos – Amazon, Sergey Brin and Larry Page – Google, a few years back Jack Welch – General Electric, Lou Gerstner – IBM, further back Lee Iacocca – Ford.

The American comedian Bill Burr challenges this in a humorous and entertaining way: