March 30, 2013 12:13 pm

Two Vancouver CEOs among top 10 bosses in Canada

Suncor CEO Steve Williams topped the list.

Suncor CEO Steve Williams topped the list.

Photograph by: Dean Bicknell , Calgary Herald

Two Vancouver-based CEOs are among 10 Canadian bosses to receive top approval ratings by employees in a website survey.

Telus CEO Darren Entwistle received an 84-per-cent rating — seventh overall — while Lululemon CEO Christine Day got an 83-per-cent rating, or ninth overall.

The two business leaders were rated on the website Glassdoor, a job and career site where employees anonymously dish on the pros and cons of their companies and bosses.

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Suncor CEO Steve Williams received the top Canadian approval rating at 96 per cent from the Calgary company’s employees. Royal Bank CEO Gordon Nixon finished second at 94 per cent and TD Bank CEO Ed Clark at 93 per cent.

So far this year, BlackBerry staff have given their CEO Thorsten Heins an 84-per-cent approval rating while the company’s rating stands at 3.6 out of five on the website.

Suncor got a 3.5 rating.

So, what’s it like to work at struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry, one of Canada’s big banks or scandal-ridden engineering firm SNC-Lavalin?

“It’s peeling back all of the layers on a lot of things in the workplace that used to be taboo, and it’s all according to the employees,” said Glassdoor spokesman Scott Dobroski.

Employees can disclose salaries, how a company conducts job interviews, the company’s recreation activities, workplace photos and in some cases even talk about what the bathroom is like, Dobroski said from Sausalito, Calif.

Glassdoor recently came out with the 50 highest rated CEOs for 2013, based on employee reviews, and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg emerged on top.

Zuckerberg scored a 99-per-cent approval rating from Facebook employees, up 14 percentage points from 2012 despite turbulence surrounding the social media site when it became publicly traded, Dobroski said.

No Canadian CEO made the top 50 list, but the California company has expanded content for its north-of-the-border audience with about 8,000 Canadian companies, government agencies and universities and colleges reviewed by employees.

Glassdoor verifies email addresses and screens content for accuracy, Dobroski said. Workplace and CEO comments can’t only be negative, he added.

“About 15 to 20 per cent of the content that is submitted to Glassdoor is actually rejected because it either doesn’t meet our community guidelines or it appears suspicious.”

McGill University associate professor Lisa Cohen said job review websites provide useful information to prospective employees, especially when it comes to salaries and corporate culture. The information is also potentially valuable for a company’s human resources staff, she said.

“This is a read on how well you’re doing,” said Cohen, who teaches organizational behaviour at McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management.

“I think another thing this website shows us is that nothing is a secret,” she said.

Cohen noted the web is full of sites that rate everyone from teachers to doctors to dentists.

An employee at Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry recently said the upside of working there was: “Cutting-edge technology, rapid learning environment, smart people.

But another employee said the downside was: BlackBerry is “going down, going down, going down, going down … cellphone market is so cruel to every competitor, be aware of your choice.”

BlackBerry launched its new Z10 touch screen smartphone this year, but has been struggling to hold on to market share.

Former co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis had an overall approval rating of 36 per cent in 2011 and the company had a 3.1 rating, according to employees.

CEO Gerry McCaughey of CIBC scored just a 54-per-cent approval rating from the big bank’s employees, but CIBC got a three out of five rating.

Meanwhile, an employee at SNC-Lavalin said it’s a “great company, revitalized with new management that is desperately trying to pitch itself.”

Former SNC-Lavalin CEO Pierre Duhaime was relieved of his duties in March 2012 and is facing fraud charges stemming from a contract involving the building of the multibillion-dollar McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.

But employee advice to senior management was: “Over-reaction to the corruption scandal has turned to over-correction.”

Dobroski said the average CEO approval rating in Canada is 70 per cent, compared with 69 per cent in the United Kingdom and 66 per cent in the United States.

Dobroski said the Canadian companies with the most content on Glassdoor were Ontario Power Generation, City of Toronto and the University of Toronto.

With a file by Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

Here are the Top 10 chief executives in Canada as rated anonymously by employees on job and career website Glassdoor:

1. Suncor CEO Steve Williams: 96 per cent approval

2. Royal Bank CEO Gordon Nixon: 94 per cent

3. TD Bank CEO Ed Clark: 93 per cent

4. Four Seasons Hotel CEO Kathleen Taylor: 92 per cent

5. Scotiabank CEO Rick Waugh: 89 per cent

6. BCE CEO George Cope: 85 per cent

7. Telus CEO Darren Entwistle: 84 per cent

8. Bank of Montreal CEO Bill Downe: 84 per cent

9. Lululemon CEO Christine Day: 83 per cent

10. Canadian Tire CEO Stephen Wetmore: 80 per cent

 

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