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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ranking the Most Beloved CEO’s Ever(Part 1)

Obviously, a list of this sort must be taken with much more than a grain of salt. The only folks really qualified to rank these titans would be the folks who actually worked with and for them. I suspect in many cases they’d have some very controversial opinions on each one.

I tried to think in terms of who broke new ground? Which CEO would garner the highest approval rankings? Created a positive culture for their workers? Provided the greatest example of business leadership?

The old saying, “To make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs.”  Suffice it to say that on the road to earning millions (or billions) more than a few eggs were broken.

With that caveat firmly in mind, here is my list for the most beloved CEO’s of all time:

15) Donald John Trump is combination business magnate, socialite, best-selling author and television personality. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer. Trump is also the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates numerous casinos and hotels across the world. Trump's extravagant lifestyle and outspoken manner have made him a celebrity for years, a status amplified by several forays into the political arena and the success of his NBC reality show, The Apprentice.

Trump’s ambitious expansion plans, both personal and business, led to mounting debt and ultimately bankruptcy. During the late 1990s Trump rebounded with a vengeance. By 2001, he had completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters. Trump currently owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate, and remains a major figure in the field of U.S. real estate in the and a celebrity for his prominent media exposures.

14) Katharine Graham was an American publisher.  Her father bought the Washington Post at a public auction in 1933 for $825,000. She began working at the company in 1938. Known by some as,"Kate the Great".  She was at the helm of The Washington Post for over two decades, including its most famous period. Under her leadership, the Washington Post published the Pentagon Papers and broke the Watergate story. Between 1981 and 1991, when Graham retired, the Washington Post Co.’s stock price increased elevenfold. 

13) Lawrence "Larry" Page is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who, along with Sergey Brin, is best known as the co-founder of Google. The founders of Google Inc. still manage to introduce humor and amusing perspectives into the business of running a $6.3 billion company.  As of April 4, 2011, he is also the chief executive of Google, as announced on January 20, 2011 his personal wealth is estimated to be $19.8 billion.  In 1998 PC Magazine praised Google as one of the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People’s Voice Award among many others. In 2011, Page was ranked as the 11th richest person in the United States. Brin and Page also bank-rolled the low-budget independent 2007 film, Broken Arrows.

12) George Soros is an American currency speculator, stock investor, businessman, philanthropist, and political activist. Soros is chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Soros is considered one of the richest persons in the world, with a net worth estimated at $11.0 billion.  He has given $6 billion to various causes since 1979. These days his wealth is largely devoted to encouraging transitional and emerging nations to become 'open societies,' tolerant of new ideas and different modes of thinking and behavior.

11) J.P. Morgan - Today we think of J.P. Morgan as a leading financial services firm.  What many don’t know is that he was an actual person.  John Pierpont Morgan was an American financier, banker and art collector. He was dominant in corporate finance and industrial consolidation in the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s. Actually some of his critics said he was in control of the nation’s high finance.

His dedication to efficiency and modernization helped transform American business.
So brilliant and successful was Morgan that he personally bailed out the U.S. Treasury twice!  Once during the depression of 1895, and again during the panic of 1907. 
Morgan was prominent in various areas: energy, subways, shipping, industrials. And railroads.  He had great success as well as several unsuccessful ventures. He perfected a process of taking over troubled businesses that was so good that it become known as “Morganization”.

Next time we’ll examine numbers 6 through 10 on this list. What do you think of the first installment? Can you think of anyone I forgot?

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