The world’s 10 best chief executives: How they made the cut

The world’s 10 best chief executives: How they made the cut

What separates good chief executives from the rest of the pack?

According to the Harvard Business Review, the best chief executives are those who deliver long-term value to their shareholders, and that’s the criteria the publication has used to pull together this year’s list of the 100 best-performing chief executives in the world.

While the HBR acknowledges effective leadership is also about less tangible skills – strategic vision, authenticity, planning, connecting with employees and the wider community – the publication has chosen to rank chief executives based on hard data.

So who is on the list and how did they get there? Here’s the HBR’s 10 best-performing chief executives.

1. Jeff Bezos, Amazon

The founder of one of the world’s largest retailers tops the list of best-performing chief executives for delivering incredible value to shareholders since 1996.

HBR calculates Bezos has grown returns to Amazon shareholders by a whopping 15,189% adjusted by country and 14,917%, adjusted by industry.

Overall, Bezos has grown the market capitalisation of Amazon by $US140 billion ($160 billion).

2. John Martin, Gilead Sciences

John Martin has led US healthcare provider Gilead Sciences for the same amount of time as Bezos has led Amazon, growing the company by $US128 billion.

He has been responsible for growing shareholders’ returns by 7206%, country adjusted, and 6919%, industry adjusted.

3. John Chambers, Cisco Systems

Next on the list is John Chambers, chief executive of US-based IT provider Cisco Systems.

HBR calculates Chambers has been responsible for growing the company by $US168 billion, increasing shareholder returns by 668%, adjusted by country, and 1102%, adjusted by industry.

4. David Pyott, Allergan

David Pyott has grown US healthcare provider Allergan by $US50 billion, landing him fourth place on HBR’s list.

Shareholder returns have grown by 1948%, country adjusted under Pyott’s leadership, while industry adjusted returns have grown by 1929%.

5. David Simon, Simon Property Group

Like most of the men ahead of him, David Simons has been the chief executive of his company, Simon Property Group, for more than 20 years.

According to HBR, Simon has grown the US financial services group by $US63 billion, delivering growth in country adjusted shareholder returns of 1246% and industry adjusted returns of 1605%.

6. Lars Rebien Sorensen, Novo Nordisk

Also in the healthcare sector is Lars Rebien Sorensen, chief executive of Danish healthcare provider Novo Nordisk.

The market capitalisation of Novo Nordisk has grown by $US101 billion since Sorensen took control in 2000, with country adjusted shareholder returns growing by 621% and industry adjusted returns growing by 1214%.

7. Hugh Grant, Monsanto

Hugh Grant has led US-based agricultural company Monsanto since 2003 and in that time the company’s market capitalisation has grown by $US59 billion.

Monsanto shareholders’ returns have grown by 1006%, country adjusted, during that time, while industry adjusted returns have grown by 827%.

8. J Michael Pearson, Valeant Pharmaceuticals

Canadian-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals has grown by $US44 billion since J Michael Pearson took the reins in 2008.

According to HBR, Pearson’s leadership has led to country-adjusted shareholder returns to increase by 1144%, with industry-adjusted returns growing by 1100%.

9. Mark Donegan, Precision Castparts

In 12 years, Mark Donegan has increased the market value of US industrial manufacturer Precision Castparts by $US34 billion.

He has also delivered growth in country-adjusted shareholder returns of 1720% and industry-adjusted returns of 1622%.

10. William Doyle, PotashCorp

Rounding out the top 10 is William Doyle, chief executive of Canadian agricultural provider PotashCorp.

Doyle has grown the company by $US37 billion, with country-adjusted shareholder returns growing by 1327% and industry-adjusted returns by 1163% since 1999.


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