Harvard Business Review Publishes List of the 100 Best CEOs in the World

  Harvard Business Review Publishes List of the 100 Best CEOs in the World

Business Wire

BOSTON -- January 2, 2013

Harvard Business Review has published an article ranking the top 100 CEOs in
the world. The article, “The Best-Performing CEOs in the World,” which appears
in the January-February issue of the magazine, offers the only ranking of
global CEOs’ performance over their entire tenure.

Harvard Business Review, January/February 2013 (Photo: Business Wire)

Harvard Business Review, January/February 2013 (Photo: Business Wire)

The list, compiled by Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra, and Urs Peyer all of
INSEAD, is based on rigorous analysis of more than 3,000 CEOs around the world
and incorporates three metrics: industry-adjusted shareholder returns,
country-adjusted shareholder returns, and increase in market capitalization
over each CEO’s tenure.

“The knock on most business leaders is that they focus on quarterly earnings
at the expense of longer-term performance,” said Hansen, Professor in
Entrepreneurship at INSEAD and also at the University of California, Berkeley.
“We wanted to shine a spotlight on CEOs worldwide who had created long-term
value for their companies.”

“Unlike other rankings that are based on popularity or reputation, this list
is based solely on hard data and evaluates which chief executives delivered
the most solid results over the long term,” said Adi Ignatius, Harvard
Business Review Editor-in-Chief.

Among the authors’ findings:

  *Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the world’s number one living CEO, with only the
    late Steve Jobs holding a better record. Under Bezos’ leadership, Amazon
    delivered industry-adjusted shareholder returns of 12,266% and saw its
    value increase by $111 billion.
  *Only three Chinese companies’ CEOs made the top 100, though 17% of all the
    executives studied were from China. The highest ranking Chinese CEO on the
    list is Li Jiaxiang, former CEO of Air China.
  *The highest-ranked woman on the list is HP CEO Meg Whitman, whose
    performance as the CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008 earned her the #9 spot.
    Whitman is only one of two women who made the top 100, the other being
    Dong Mingzhu, CEO of China’s Gree Electric Appliances.
  *Despite holding six of the top 10 slots, U.S. CEOs performed on average
    lower than their Latin American, Indian, and British counterparts.
  *Chief executives from emerging markets earned four of the top 10 slots:
    Yun Jong-Yong, former CEO of Samsung Electronics at #3, Roger Agnelli,
    formerly of Brazilian mining company Vale at #4, Chung Mong-Koo of Hyundai
    at #6, and Y.C. Deveshwar of Indian consumer goods company ITC at #7.
  *Overall, insiders—CEOs promoted from within—did better than outsiders.
    When looking at the entire group of CEOs studied, insiders’ average rank
    was 154 places higher than outsiders’, with insiders getting better
    results in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America. The
    authors found no difference between insiders and outsiders in continental
    Europe, China, and India.
  *The top 100 CEOs from the ranking performed exceptionally well: On average
    they delivered a total shareholder return of 1,385% during their tenures
    and increased their firms’ market value by $40.2 billion.

The CEO Scorecard was first introduced three years ago in Harvard Business
Review. This year’s ranking has been expanded along two important dimensions:
making the group of CEOs studied truly global—the authors drew from a pool of
3,143 CEOs in 37 countries—and examining which CEOs and companies were able to
do well not only financially but also in terms of corporate social and
environmental performance.

While no correlation between financial results and social responsibility was
found, numerous examples of high-performing CEOs “doing well and doing good”
emerged, including Franck Riboud of Danone and Alessandro Carlucci of Natura,
who both have confronted the key social or environmental issue in their
industry (in Danone’s case, obesity and unhealthful food consumption; in
Natura’s, deforestation and poverty). Other role models from firms rated
highly for social responsibility included the CEOs of Adidas, Inditex, Hermès
International, and Eaton, who moved into the top 15% of financial performers
in this year’s study.

“These trendsetting CEOs not only reject the idea that financial market
demands are more important than stakeholders’ needs but also demonstrate that
companies can excel at meeting both,” said Ibarra, the Cora Chaired Professor
of Leadership and Learning, Professor of Organizational Behavior, and Area
Chair for the Organizational Behavior Department at INSEAD.

To see an interactive version of the Top 100 list and browse it by CEO
ranking, location, and demographics, visit hbr.org or download the Harvard
Business Review iPad app.

About Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Reviewis the leading destination for smart management
thinking. Through its flagship magazine, 11 international licensed editions,
books from Harvard Business Review Press, and digital content and tools
published onHBR.org, Harvard Business Review provides professionals around
the world with rigorous insights and best practices to lead themselves and
their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact.

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