January 7, 2013—He came. He saw. He conquered. The Harvard Business Review recently published its list of the best CEOs in the world and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos ranks number one as the world’s best living CEO, with only the late Steve Jobs holding a better record. Under Bezos’ leadership, Amazon saw its value increase by $111 billion and delivered industry-adjusted shareholder returns of 12,266%. Another notable name on the list includes former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who now heads Hewlett Packard, as #9 and only one of two women who made the top 100 list.
The Harvard Business Review based their list on analysis of more than 3,000 CEOs around the world and used three metrics: industry-adjusted shareholder returns, country-adjusted shareholder returns, and increase in market capitalization over each CEO’s tenure. The list is part of a concerted effort to get the business world focused on long-term results.
Interesting facts on this list include:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The Best-Performing CEOs in the World appears in the January-February issue of Harvard Business Review.