Steve Jobs’s transition from CEO of Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to chairman has caused a great deal of ink to be spilt on the departure of other famous CEOs, such as Walt Disney, Henry Ford, and Sam Walton. Very little has been said about the most innovative CEOs in America who are still in their jobs, some of whom have been for years.
24/7 Wall St. looked at some of America’s most successful public corporations, both in terms of sales growth and stock prices improvement. We then selected companies where the CEO is the driving force behind that success. This judgment is subjective, but these chief executives are widely admired for their imaginations, ability to navigate varying economic conditions, and most important, their ability to take market share from all of their competitors.
Based on these criteria, many CEOs have been ruled out. Exxon Mobil may be the largest and most profitable oil company in the world, but CEO Rex Tillerson did not manage the merger that created the oil giant and has not pioneered crude discoveries or advancements in exploration. Intel continues to change the face of the chip business, but CEO Paul Otellini stands on the shoulders of Intel’s founders who invented the advanced chip industry and created Intel’s culture of innovation. Amgen is the world’s largest and most successful biotech company. CEO Kevin Sharer does not spend thousands of hours in the company’s labs.
The following are the leaders who revolutionized their companies, and to a great extent, their industries.