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Jeff Kagan: Top CEO Innovators Who Are Changing the World

This is my list of the Top CEO Innovators who are changing our world.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Image: J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Thomas Edison

We are living through a special time in history. Today, we today look back in awe at the days of JP Morgan, John D Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and more. They changed the world. Today, we are living through another historic time. Tomorrow, we will look back on this time as a new wave of CEO who is changing our world.

It’s all about innovation. How ideas change everything and impact everyone. So, who are today’s leaders in AI, IoT, 5G Wireless, Telecom, Pay TV, Cloud Computing, Healthcare, Digital Healthcare, Healthcare Tech, Pharma and so much more?

Let’s take a look at some of these ground-breaking people and how they are changing our world.

This is not a complete list of course. That would be impossible. That list is simply too long for one column. So, if I left off anyone you like, let me apologize in advance.

You are invited to add your Top CEO vote at the bottom of this column. It will be interesting for all of us to see who is leading the charge into tomorrow!

AI, IoT, 5G Wireless, Telecom, Pay TV, Cloud Computing and more

These are the CEOs who are in the news, innovating and changing our world. CEOs with new ideas, new thinking and new technologies always push against the envelope. Some ideas, like the Apple iPhone and Google Android, changed their space virtually overnight and are loved by the masses, worldwide. Others take time.

Now, in no particular order, these are the top CEOs of today.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX

Elon Musk has captured the attention of the world with Tesla and SpaceX. These are both powerful and rapidly growing companies that are transforming their industries, automotive and spacecraft.

Musk does not follow the traditional CEO model. He breaks the rules and has run into trouble now and then with government officials. However, he is one of the most powerful, most innovative and most important CEOs today.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

Steve Jobs built Apple into an innovative powerhouse. His vision and commitment to quality has won over customers, users and investors.

Current CEO Tim Cook has taken the company even further in size and scope. Today, Apple is a much larger and very different company and is still rising on the growth curve.

They are starting in streaming TV services with Apple TV+ and I expect growth to continue.

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T

Ed Whitacre was CEO of Baby Bell SBC. Roughly fifteen years ago, he acquired AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular. This powerhouse combination set the company up for rapid growth over the next decade and a half under CEO Randall Stephenson.

Now, Stephenson is continuing to transform and expand the company by acquiring DirecTV, Time Warner (which was renamed WarnerMedia), CNN, Warner Brothers and more.

They are launching HBO Max, a streaming service leader in this new space.

Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast

Brian Roberts is CEO of Comcast. This is a very large and successful, publicly owned family business. Started by his father, Ralph Roberts, Brian transformed and grew the company into the powerhouse it is today.

He acquired NBC Universal, and created Xfinity Mobile. They were the first cable TV company to become a wireless reseller. Today Comcast’s main focus is no longer pay TV. It is broadband and they also offer cable TV, wireless and other services.

They are launching Peacock, a streaming service.

Steven Mollenkopf, CEO Of Qualcomm

Qualcomm is a leader in the 5G wireless network and handset space. Now that 5G wireless is upon us, they have another unique opportunity for rapid growth.

Steven Mollenkopf has been leading Qualcomm as CEO since 2014. He has steered the company through battles, and today Qualcomm is one of the top two global leaders in 5G wireless.

Their growth opportunity is just beginning. In fact, Mollenkopf is already focused on what’s coming next… 6G.

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

IBM has been an industry powerhouse since the 1880s. They are one of the great American success stories. IBM is called Big Blue. It has gone through so much change and reinvention, time and time again.

Virginia Marie Rometty or Ginni Rometty is the Chair, President and CEO of IBM since 2012. The first woman to lead this technology giant, Rometty has been leading IBM into the next stage of growth with IBM Watson, cloud services and so much more.

Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies

Michael Dell started Dell Technologies, then left it to other executives to run. When performance lagged, he re-entered the picture and successfully put the company back on the growth path.

Today, Dell Technologies is one of the most successful and most powerful in the computer and technology industries.

Dell Technologies is an extension of Michael Dell and this entrepreneur has been successfully leading this company.

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco

Cisco has been one of the most important companies over the last few decades, and today it is led by Chuck Robbins. He takes a very even-handed approach and Cisco workers love him. He is an inspirational leader.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of

Bezos’s success story started in the 1990s when launched. They were an online bookstore. Since that time, they have become a giant not only selling books, but selling everything. They are also a giant online shopping mall and their web services platform hosts countless other businesses.

Amazon’s success may have helped put industry leading booksellers out of business. With the cloud business, AWS, Amazon continues to show rapid growth in new industries. With their acquisition of Whole Foods, I see Bezos continuing to build and grow Amazon for many years to come in new industries.

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

Tech giant Microsoft was started and built by Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. When Gates and Ballmer stepped down several years ago, the company had peaked and was weakening.

Satya Nadella strengthened the company and has earned his place among top CEOs. The company is expanding into other businesses like the cloud and more. Today, Microsoft is as important as ever, globally.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has led Facebook and all the companies they have acquired and built since the beginning. Facebook is his baby.

The company has been mired in plenty of issues like privacy and political bias. It will take time and effort to solve these problems, but the company, thanks to Zuckerberg, continues to be a strong and important player and leader in the way we communicate and share information.

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks

Howard Schultz is the entrepreneur who started the Starbucks revolution. He then walked away from leadership, and the company started to struggle. He returned and once again Starbucks was a leader, world-wide.

He created an entirely new industry segment and made a big impact on the world with a simple cup of coffee. Now he has stepped aside again after his second leadership period. Today, Starbucks continues to grow.

Larry Page, Sergey Brin of Google Alphabet

These two started and built Google from the fastest search engine to all the different businesses and industries they are leaders in. Google is one of the most important companies in our lives today.

Alphabet and Google have been wrestling with privacy and political bias issues and will for some time to come.

However, these two men have built something so powerful, it impacts every person in every industry in countries around the world. Even after stepping away from the day to day operations of the company, Page and Brin remain controlling shareholders of Alphabet.

Robert Iger, CEO of Disney

Robert Iger continues to build and grow the Disney empire, business and brand. Disney is a leader in so many different industries, and they all work together to further build the company.

Next, they are moving into streaming TV services with Disney+. It looks like they will continue to be a leader going forward under Iger.

John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile

T-Mobile was crashing, burning and failing as the wireless industry moved from 2G to 3G and welcomed the iPhone and Android. T-Mobile missed that big step.

Then they hired John Legere who saved the company and put it back on the growth track once again. Now that Legere is stepping down, it will be interesting to see if the company can continue their growth if they do not merge with Sprint and get their spectrum.

Either way, Legere is a hero in the T-Mobile story.

Glenn Lurie, CEO of Synchronoss

Synchronoss Technologies is a global company that helps wireless and telecom carriers use technology to satisfy their customer base, hang onto users and increase carrier revenue and profitability.

Glenn Lurie spent his career leading AT&T and AT&T Mobility and learning what carriers need to win. Now he is CEO of Synchronoss bringing his first-hand knowledge of what every carrier needs to win against the competition.

Lisa Su, CEO of AMD or Advanced Micro Devices

Lisa Su has successfully turned AMD into a leader in the semiconductor industry after working for Texas Instruments, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor. She is a leader showing how women can be as successful as men in business.

Digital Health, Health Tech, Pharma CEO’s are transforming Healthcare industry

In the area of Healthcare, Digital Healthcare, HealthTech, Pharma and more, there are many exceptional CEOs who also deserve recognition. This partial list includes the fields of medical devices, analytics, pharmaceuticals and technology.

These are some of the healthcare CEOs who are changing our world;

Marc Casper of Thermo Fisher Scientific

Alex Gorsky of Johnson & Johnson

Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe

Oliver Kharraz of Zocdoc

Jason Gorevic of Teladoc Health

Mike Mahoney of Boston Scientific

Omar Ishrak of Medtronic

Kieran Murphy of GE Healthcare

Joe Almeida of Baxter

Mike Roman of 3M

Dr. Tom Mihaljevic of Cleveland Clinic

In fact, there are so many more examples, and I know that I have left many leaders out. However, the point is, our world is changing so fast it makes our heads spin. And this whirlwind of change has only just begun.

Growth curve: Growing, cresting, declining

The leaders I mentioned in this column are so important to the changing world in which we live, but they are not the only ones. There are plenty more.

They are often the entrepreneurs who started these companies. These companies are their babies. There is an emotional connection. When companies have been around for a while, they hire new leaders. These are not the entrepreneurs which started the company but can take it to the next level.

Remember, many leaders are running brand new companies. They are five, ten or fifteen years old. Just babies in the scheme of things.

There are also plenty of long-term companies who have been with us forever and are just as hot and innovative today as they ever were.

They are all on the growth curve. Many grow until they crest and ultimately fall. However, some innovative CEOs lead their companies to create the next growth wave and continue to ride it wave after wave.

These are the companies who will continue to impact us for the long-term. These are the long-term growth stories for investors, workers and users.

So, congratulations to everyone on this list. I will be watching companies and CEOs looking for the next wave of leaders!

Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is an Industry Analyst and Influencer focused on Wireless, Telecom, Pay TV, Cloud, AI, IoT, Digital Health, Health Tech and Healthcare. Email him at [email protected] His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.


Equities Columnist: Jeff Kagan

Source: Equities News

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