Barron’s ‘World’s Best CEOs’ list: #1 Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Apple StoreApple CEO Steve Jobs is the “ultimate CEO who matters,” according to a new survey by Barron’s magazine.

Barron’s list seeks to “identify CEOs who have top-notch reputations in the financial community and who likely would be missed by investors if they unexpectedly left their jobs.” The magazine says it “talked to plenty of investors, looked at financial and stock-market performance and assessed intangible factors like leadership and industry stature.”

Barron’s says an Apple (AAPL) departure by Jobs from would result in the greatest loss of company market value than the loss of any other CEO from any other company.

Barron’s estimates Jobs to be worth approximately 20 points to Apple shares or roughly $16 billion in market capitalization.

Barron’s Top 30 list in alphabetical order:
• Buffett, Warren – Berkshire Hathaway
• Chenault, Kenneth – American Express
• David, George – United Technologies
• Ergen, Charlie – Echostar
• Fink, Larry – Blackrock
• Frankfort, Lew – Coach
• Fuld, Richard – Lehman Brothers
• Goodwind, Fred – Royal Bank of Scotland
• Immelt, Jeffrey – General Electric
• Iwata, Satory – Nintendo
• Jobs, Steven – Apple
• Kagermann, Henning – SAP
• Kovacevich, Richard – Wells Fargo
• Lafley, A.G. – Procter & Gamble
• Leahy, Terry – Tesco
• Mackey, John – Whole Foods
• Mittal, Lakshmi – Arcelor Mittal
• Moss, Allan – Macquarie
• Mozilo, Angelo – Countrywide Financial
• Murdoch, Rupert – News Corp.
• O’Leary, Michael – Ryanair Holdings
• Riboud, Franck – Groupe Danone
• Rose, Peter – Expeditors International
• Roth, Steven – Vornando Realty
• Schiro, James – Zurich Financial
• Simpson, Bob – XTO Energy
• Sinegal, James – Costco Wholesale
• Smith, Fred – FedEx
• Tata, Ratan – Tata Sons
• Yun, Jong-Yong – Samsung Electronics

Full article (subscription required) here.


  1. @reality

    I disagree. A benign dictatorship is the best form of gov’t. However, one rarely gets a dictator that doesn’t get corrupted after awhile or loses sight of reality or of his own weaknesses (god complex).

    Jobs being the supreme commander allows an ideal situation for a company like Apple…flexibility. Sure the danger is that get Jobs screws up for any of the previous reasons I listed. However, he seems to have an excellent vision of where things are converging. Add flexibility to make rapid key decisions when needed…this makes for a winner.

  2. @Buster,

    Don’t make the cardinal mistake of confusing business with government. They are completely different systems with completely different goals. The virtues of each don’t transfer to the other.

    CEOs who end up in government are disastrous, and public sector types tend not to do well in business (unless they’re simply trading on their government connections like Cheney, who even with all his Defense Dept. contracts managed to vastly diminish Halliburton’s stockholder value during his tenure as CEO).

  3. @ Buster

    Yes. But Jobs is a homo sapien, and they don’t live forever.

    He SURELY must think of who he would nominate as his heir apparent! I say Jonnie Ives. Jobs has vision and, while Schiller might be able to pump up some jam, I’m not confident of his sense of vision — and face it, he is “Ballmer-like” (or, is that “Balmer Lite”?). While Ives is REEEEEALLY laid back, it is his fertile imagination and engineering skill that has been Jobs’ clay. I say let the clay lead. There’s probably no one better than him who knows Jobs’ design soul — firsthand!

  4. @Fred,
    I agree that they should not be mixed. My point was simply to give one person with vision the power that he needs to do the job without all the encumbering hangers-on or power hungry underlings who slow down the process….like the way MS curently is. Having power like that will either make or break the company. I am betting on the former with Steve.

    @Macaholic. I agree that Ives is better than Shiller. However, this may sound stupid but a great leader knows what he doesn’t know. Jobs knows business and has vision. He also knows that he doesn’t have the design skills for wow products. But he knows that Ives knows it AND he gives Ives the resources to go nuts. I do not think Ives has Jobs’s business acumen. I would hope that Ives would know this and would find another Steve with business knowledge.

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