100 Best CEOs in the World

by Meg Guiseppi on February 4, 2010

Based on various criteria defined through data collected on nearly 2,000 CEOs worldwide, Harvard Business Review ranked the top 100 CEOs who have done the best job running their companies over their entire time in office, or for those still on the job, up until September 30, 2009.

Criteria used included:

  • During their tenures, the CEOs had to post a total shareholder return of 997 percent (adjusted for exchange-rate effects).
  • They had to raise company shareholder wealth by $48.2 billion (adjusted for inflation, dividends, share repurchases and share issues).

 No big surprise that Steve Jobs is #1 on the list. Following him are Yun Jong-Yong (Samsung Electronics), Alexey B. Miller (Gazprom), John T. Chambers (Cisco Systems) and Mukesh D. Ambani (Reliance Industries).

Some relatively unknown faces make it to the top, while some obvious candidates in terms of reputation don’t make the top 50, or even the top 100 or top 200.

The top five female CEOs are Margaret C. Whitman (eBay), Andrea Jung (Avon Products), Carol Meyrowitz (TJX), Susan M. Ivey (Reynolds American) and Kate Swann (WH Smith).

Location and industry didn’t factor heavily in the results. What did factor in was whether the CEO was with the same company or a different one before taking on the CEO role. CEOs who were insiders (promoted from within their companies) performed better than those who joined their organizations in that position.

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