The Harvard Business Review has released its list of the 100 best-performing CEOs on the planet. Lars Rebien Sørensen, CEO of Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk, tops the list.
To compile the ranking, HBR considered total shareholder return and the change in each company’s market capitalisation. This year, HBR also added a measurement of each company’s environmental, social, and governance performance (using ESG scores from investment research firm Sustainalytics). Ultimately, long-term financial results were weighted at 80% and ESG performance at 20% for each CEO/company.
Sørensen comes in at No. 1 in part due to Novo Nordisk’s high ESG rating. According to Sustainalytics and HBR, “the company benefits from, among other things, its decision to offer insulin at a steep discount to consumers in developing countries; its transparent and limited political lobbying practices; and its responsible policy on animal testing.”
Notably absent from the top is Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, last year’s No. 1 CEO, who fell a whopping 87 spots this year due to the addition of the ESG measure.
HBR also notes that ex-Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned amid the emissions scandal as the list was going to press, is ranked No. 20 based on the company’s financial data through April 30 and a strong ESG score that has since been downgraded by Sustainalytics.
Some fascinating trends emerged this year. MBAs are still a badge of honour, but decreasingly so — 26 of the top 100 CEOs have the degree, compared to 29 last year. The top CEOs are in consumer goods, healthcare, and financial services. And diversity remains a problem: Only two of the top 100 are women.
Here are the top 25 most effective CEOs, according to HBR:
1. Lars Rebien Sørensen of Novo Nordisk
2. John Chambers of Cisco Systems
3. Pablo Isla of Inditex
4. Elmar Degenhart of Continental
5. Martin Sorrell of WPP
6. Stephen Luzco of Seagate Technology
7. Jon Fredrik Baksaas of Telenor
8. George Scangos of Biogen
9. Michael Wolf of Swedbank
10. Fujio Mitarai of Canon
11. Leslie Wexner of L Brands
12. Howard Schultz of Starbucks
13. Florentino Pèrez Rodrìguez of Acs
14. Jacques Aschenbroich of Valeo
15. Benoit Potier of Air Liquide
16. Carlos Brito of Anheuser-Busch InBev
17. Lars Rasmussen of Coloplast
18. Kasper Rorsted of Henkel
19. Alexander Cutler of Eaton
20. Martin Winterkorn of Volkswagen (now resigned)
21. Mark Parker of Nike
22. Martin Gilbert of Aberdeen Asset Management
23. Johan Thijs of KBC
24. Roberto Egydio Setubal of Itaù Unibanco
25. Laurence Douglas Fink of Blackrock
Check out the full list here.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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