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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ranking the Most Beloved CEO’s Ever(Part 2)

In part one we took a look at the first installment of “Ranking the Most Beloved CEO’s Ever” with numbers 11 through 15. You can view part 1 here.

Today with the second installment we will examine numbers 6 through 10.


10) William Henry "Bill" Gates III is the co-founder, along with Paul Allen of software company, Microsoft.  He is also an American business magnate, philanthropist, and author. Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Although admired by many, he has also been heavy criticized by industry insiders for his business tactics, which have bordered on monopolistic. He is consistently ranked as one of the world's wealthiest people. Gates remains the largest individual Microsoft shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock.

Lately, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. Bill Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January, 2000.  He now works full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.

9) John D. Rockefeller - It’s difficult to put Rockefeller on this list. He was both a robber baron monopolist and a top notch philanthropist. Perhaps his conscience got to him in his later years. was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and revolutionized the petroleum industry.

He became well known for handing out dimes and nickels to the poor,  all while building a mammoth empire by destroying, undercutting, and buying up the competition. By 1879,  Standard Oil had about 90 percent of the market for refining petroleum and all but complete control of the U.S. oil industry. 

At one point Rockefeller had become the richest man in the world and the first American billionaire.  He spent the last 40 years of his life in retirement. He created the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy. By the time he died, in 1937, he’d given most of his money away to heirs and charities.

8) Walt Disney - Imagine a world without Disneyland, Disneyworld and Epcot Center.  Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, animator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.  Disney’s first studio, Laugh-O-Grams, in Kansas City, Missouri, declared bankruptcy after less than two years in business. He managed to bounce back in the mid-1920s and set up a new studio in Hollywood. Today, the company produces annual revenue of about $35 billion.  Disney studios has gone on to create such iconic characters as Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Donald Duck. Disneyland has over 15 million visitors per year and Disney World has approximately 17 million visitors per year.


7) Ray Kroc - Is there a kid anywhere in the United States that hasn’t eaten at least one time at a McDonald’s? Kroc, a milkshake-machine salesman, joined McDonald’s in 1954 and grew it into the most successful fast food operation in the world. After initially agreeing to pay the McDonald brothers $2.7 million for the chain they founded, plus a royalty on 1 percent of gross sales, Kroc reneged. He never honored the royalty agreement because it wasn’t in writing.  By 1993 McDonald’s had sold more than 100 billion hamburgers. By 2011 McDonald’s had over 33,000 locations worldwide.

He set strict rules for franchisees on how the food was to be made. This insured that a Big Mac tasted the same in one part of the world as another. Kroc was included in Time’s 100 Most Important People of the Century.  He also owned the San Diego Padres baseball team beginning in 1974. It’s not an exaggeration to say that McDonald’s spawned a billion-dollar fast food industry.


6) Oprah Winfrey - The undisputed queen of daytime talk show, she had the ability to boost the sales of anything from books to scented candles or launch others onto a talk show of their own. That’s how powerful the Oprah Winfrey Show was. Her touch was like some sort of golden blessing. According to some, she is the most influential woman in the world.

One reason Winfrey is so successful at connecting with her audience is due to her willingness to be vulnerable. During her rein as talk show queen she has openly discussed many of the trials and challenges she has faced.

She is credited with becoming the first female black billionaire in U.S. history. Winfrey now she runs an influential, media conglomerate(Harpo Productions and the Oprah Winfrey Network) that publishes books and produces television shows, movies, and radio programs.

Next time we’ll take a look at the top 5 Most Beloved CEO’s ever. Who do you think will be on that list?

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