CEOs of IT companies are well to the fore in creating long-term shareholder value, according to a Harvard Business Review article to be published in January.
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Apple CEO Steve Jobs heads the list of nearly 2,000 global CEOs, followed by Samsung's Yun Jong-yong in second place and Cisco boss John Chambers in fourth.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos was seventh, former eBay boss Meg Whitman was eighth, and Google's Eric Schmidt was ninth.
The list was compiled by Berkeley and Insead management professor Morten Hansen and Herminia Ibarra, professor of organisational behaviour at Insead.
In a trailer story, the authors said they set out to see whether the results produced by high-profile bosses matched their surrounding hype.
"Immelt (GE), Dimon (JP Morgan Chase) and Ghosn (Renault-Nissan) get lots of attention in the business press," they said. "CEOs like them are often labelled as 'most admired' or highest paid. Typically, they are charismatic leaders, but seldom are they measured on overall performance," they said.
This mattered because other businesses may be following the wrong role models, they said.
Hansen and Ibarra collected data on CEOs around the world over the full length of their tenure to date. They measured performance based on "the objective, cold reality of shareholder returns and changes in market value".
"What is striking about the 100 best is the proportion comprised of less well-known, sometimes unknown CEOs," they said. "Equally striking is the fact that exceptional performance seems to rise above industry and circumstance,"
The full list will be published on the HBR's website on 24 December.