Confidence Lacking in Zuckerberg as Corporate Steward
Despite the fever-pitch hype over Facebook’s initial public offering, confidence in the company’s chief executive is lacking.
Half (50 percent) of Americans haven’t made up their minds about Mark Zuckerberg, according to a new AP-CNBC poll. About a third of the public (36 percent) polled said they have a favorable impression of him, but perhaps most revealing — only 18 percent are “very confident” in his ability to run a large public company.
For a guy with complete control over what Wall Street expects to be a $100 billion company, most of which is other people’s money, it’s unusual that he prompts such a tepid response — especially given his visibility generated by the Hollywood movie “The Social Network.”
These days, high-profile CEOs seem more likely targets of hostility than apathy — think Jamie Dimon, Scott Thompson, Lloyd Blankfein, or Rupert Murdoch. Their missteps attract a swift and brutal spotlight. Though Zuckerberg has yet to face-plant like some others, scrutiny is high and there is little room for error.
It is on this stage that the“move fast and break things” hoodie-wearing 28-year-old will make his debut, deus-ex-machina, on the Nasdaq. This executive joins a rare class of young tech CEOs and, it seems, the jury’s still out on him.
“I don’t have a strong view of Mark’s success or not, but Facebookis a strong company that has already achieved profitability,” said Dan Greenshields, president of INGDirect’s ShareBuilder, an online brokerage firm. “My guess is our customers don’t view him negatively, per se, and they may feel more connected to a young CEO.”
The average age ofSharebuilder’s customers is under 40, according to Greenshields — younger than typical brokerage firm clients.
“Our customers are all on Facebook. They understand the business model, and they’re calling and asking how to buy Facebook shares,” he added.
For complete poll results, click here.
The younger demographic is far more aware of who Mark Zuckerberg is than their older peers, according to the AP-CNBC poll. Of people under age 35, just 7 percent say they’ve never heard of him or don’t know what they think of him, versus 20 percent for all age groups.
This awareness appears to drive opinion, with nearly half (45 percent) of those under 35 having a positive impression of Zuckerberg, compared with 36 percent for all respondents.