Harvard Business Review’s 100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World: Apple CEO Steve Jobs #1

Holiday Apple Blowout IV“Some names you’ll recognize, many others will surprise you. But these 100 leaders all have one thing in common: They’ve delivered excellent results over the long term, as measured in groundbreaking new research,” Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra, and Urs Peyer report for Harvard Business Review.

“This article contains the first ranking that shows which CEOs of large public companies performed best over their entire time in office—or, for those still in the job, up until September 30, 2009. To compile our results, we collected data on close to 2,000 CEOs worldwide,” Hansen, Ibarra, and Peyer report. “It may come as no shock that Steve Jobs of Apple tops the list.”

“On average, those CEOs delivered a total shareholder return of 997% (adjusted for exchange-rate effects) during their time in office. That translates into a spectacular annual return of 32%. Subtracting industry effects, the annual return is 30%, and country effects, it’s 29%. On average the top 50 increased the wealth of their companies’ shareholders by $48.2 billion (adjusted for inflation, dividends, share repurchases, and share issues),” Hansen, Ibarra, and Peyer report. “Now compare that with the average performance of the 50 CEOs at the bottom of the full list of 1,999, who during their tenures produced a total shareholder return of -70%, which corresponds to an annual return of -20%. On average these poor performers presided over a loss of $18.3 billion in shareholder value.”

Hansen, Ibarra, and Peyer report, “The #1 CEO on the list, Steve Jobs, delivered a whopping 3,188% industry-adjusted return (34% compounded annually) after he rejoined Apple as CEO in 1997, when the company was in dire shape. From that time until the end of September 2009, Apple’s market value increased by $150 billion.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]


  1. seems arbitrary picking 1995 as the cutoff date.

    I’ think in a study of long term, you would want to look at the past 50 years or so. That gives you plenty of chances to study CEO’s over the 3 or 5 year period they talk about…

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