A long time Saatchi & Saatchi client and supporter General Mills CEO Ken Powell topped the ratings. Ken is a consumer driven innovater, who inspires his leaders to take responsibility and constantly go for sustainable longterm growth. He was followed in the ratings by Stanford University President John Hennessy and Apple’s Steve Jobs. Coming in at number four was Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs (which goes to show that you can still win your people over when facing pressure from the outside world – in fact I suspect that pressure helped to galvanise his internal team).
The common denominator for all of the top rated leaders was that they’d been in their jobs for at least 10 years. Half had been with their companies for 30 years. Ken Powell, for example, joined General Mills in 1979 straight out of Stanford.
In some respects that’s not a surprising finding. You might expect someone who’s been with a business for that long to know it intimately and run it well. A flashy newcomer can easily win hearts and minds before they’ve hit hard times or had to make tough decisions. Cometh the heat, go-eth the fads.
To be named as one of the most liked CEOs in the country by your people after a long time at the helm is quite an accomplishment. I take my hat off to these guys.