The impact of a CEO on a company is difficult to measure, but the unique qualities a top executive can bring to a company can change the entire course of its existence. The truth of this was never more clearly displayed than in an interview with Apple’s (AAPL) Steve Jobs, who when asked about Microsoft (MSFT) said, that the company “simply had no taste.” Microsoft and Apple both came into their own during the same period of time, but today Apple has far outpaced Microsoft in terms of creating revolutionary technology with massive consumer appeal. Apple products, especially the iPhone are ubiquitous because of the style imbued in them by Jobs.
Complaints about the iPhone's core functionality, namely the excess call dropping, would likely deter a less passionate consumer base, but Jobs has created a culture around his products and Apple devotees report being the “most satisfied” with their mobile devices. Much of this can be credited to the panache that Jobs brought to the company, serving as an excellent example of how a CEO can change the course of a given corporation.
Below are the CEOs, that based on key metrics, such as their compensation, and growth over the last decade, have established themselves as top leaders, helping their corporations usher in continued success. The businesses they run may be different but each of these CEOs bring an effective management style and a unique vision to their companies.
Steve Jobs at Apple (AAPL)- Steve Jobs may no longer be the head of Apple but he is still on the list of 2011’s top CEOs. Jobs, whose compensation was $1 million, had a 10-year market cap growth of 5,497 percent, more than any other company. Jobs's vision continues to live on as evidenced by the iPhone4s, and the bevy of smartphone companies wishing they had thought to consider the Artifical Intelligence, voice controlled technology the iPhone 4s is equipped with.
Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com (AMZN)- A recent Wall Street Journal article touted Bezos for sharing the supreme technological innovation of Mr. Jobs, writing “Mr. Jobs's nearest analog might be one of Apple's emerging rivals, Amazon Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos.” It’s what sets him apart from other CEOs; however, that puts Amazon’s head honcho in the number two spot. Bezos chose books as the basis for Amazon because they lend themselves well to online sales and he wouldn’t have to worry about quality. Since then, the company has expanded massively. In 2002, he began developing new business by leasing some of company’s massive computing power and services to other outfits. While most companies would not be keen on offering their resources to another, Bezos's move to help other companies run their businesses over the internet led Amazon to its current status as cloud computing trailblazer.
Carlos Brito at Anheuser Busch InBev NV (BUD)-AB InBev is the largest brewer in the world, accounting for close to a quarter of global market share in beer. Brito has led the company through a multitude of mergers and acquisitions since he took the post in 2005 and continues to push growth. Brito reportedly manages BUD with a merit based promotion structure with little sense of favoritism or politics. His global strategy and policy of “dreaming big” has turned the Belgian-based brewer into even more of a super power. Brito also seems to be of the opinion that AB's growth is never enough and has not only become highly involved in China's beer market but recently unveiled plans to bring high-end beer culture into China, with the launch of its Stella Artois brand in the nation. The company as a whole seems to have a firm finger on the pulse of global trends and a knack for easily turning them into profits.
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