Researching an article on CEOs' letters in annual reports for an online newsletter called ContentWise, I came across a study by a Ken Hyland, from the City University of Hong Kong, intriguingly titled, "Exploring Corporate Rhetoric: Metadiscourse in the CEO's letter."
Communication pros who have written for CEOs will be amazed to read about what they do:
This article explores how CEOs attempt to influence readers and project a positive personal and corporate image in company annual reports. It examines the role of metadiscourse, as a manifestation of the writer's linguistic and rhetorical presence in a text, to show how CEOs use non-propositional material to realize rational, credible, and affective appeals. … Metadiscourse allows CEOs to control the information they provide by using expressions that organize and evaluate that information in order to direct readers how they should understand and appraise the subject matter. … The study suggests a descriptive framework for metadiscourse in business communication and points to the need for a rhetorical awareness of this persuasive genre.
And you thought you were just hacking out some jive to fill the space.