Late Steve Jobs dominates from afterlife in CEO ranking

PHOTO: Late Steve Jobs dominates from afterlife in CEO ranking

The global ranking of CEOs by Insead for 2012 is out, and Steve Jobs continues to dominate from the afterlife with his pole position in this latest survey of 3,143 CEOs.

Mr Jobs, who was also in first place for Insead's previous ranking in 2010, died in 2011.

The Insead survey, which bases its ranking on returns and market value change, credited Mr Jobs with increasing Apple's market value by US$359 billion during his 14 years at the firm. At the same time, Apple's shareholder return came to an average compound annual growth of 35 per cent.

"That remarkable accomplishment is likely to go unbeaten for a long time," the report said.

A resurgence of the tech industry's heyday appears imminent, with Amazon's Jeffrey Bezos and Samsung Electronics' Yun Jong-Yong in second and third place, respectively.

Amazon's Mr Bezos was previously in seventh place in the 2010 survey. "Under his leadership, the company delivered industry-adjusted shareholder returns of 12,266 per cent and saw its value increase by US$111 billion," the report said.

"In recent years, the online retailer has expanded aggressively into new segments such as cloud-based computing services, while working to get the most out of the markets it already occupies. Its revenue growth shows no signs of slowing: sales increased by 40 per cent in 2011."

Margaret Whitman, the chief executive of HP, is ranked ninth for her showing at eBay from 1998 to 2008. She carries the flag both for the tech industry and her gender, being the highest-ranked female CEO on the list.

At No 10, Cisco Systems' John Chambers has the IT and electronics industry accounting for five out of the list's top 10 CEOs.

Rounding out the top 10 from the fourth to eighth spot are Vale's Roger Agnelli, Gilead Sciences' John Martin, Hyundai Motor's Chung Mong-Koo, ITC's YC Deveshwar and Simon Property Group's David Simon.

Mr Agnelli's compatriots have had a particularly good run. Brazilian chief executives take up 9 per cent of the top 100 spots, a disproportionately large showing given that they represent just 4.5 per cent of the sample.

Chinese CEOs, however, turned in an underwhelming performance. They scored an average of 176 places lower than their US counterparts.

Overall, the top 100 CEOs delivered on average a total shareholder return of 1,385 per cent during their tenures and boosted their firms' market value by US$40.2 billion.

Languishing in the boardroom of shame, the bottom 100 CEOs - who were not named - produced an average return of minus-57 per cent and managed to help wipe out US$13.6 billion in market value.

Interestingly enough, the survey found that CEOs with an MBA on average ranked 40 places higher than those without, while "insider" CEOs ranked 154 places higher than those hired from outside the firm.