1. Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway)
If Warren is considered as the greatest investor of all time, there are solid reasons for this. Buffet intelligently built up Berkshire Hathaway’s cash reserves and turned down ‘attractive’ bailout offers from distressed firms during the economic crisis. Berkshire had $27.9 billion in cash at the end of 2008.
2. Steve Jobs (Apple Inc)
The creative and iconic CEO is responsible for remarkable innovation in technology and for boosting the market share of Apple. Steve Jobs has led Apple through thick and thin. He supervised the launch iPods and iPhones and now Apple is witnessing a growth story which few other CEOs have managed to bring in.
3. Jeff Bezos (Amazon Inc)
In spite of the miserable economy, Amazon has managed to maintain profits throughout the year and this can be attributed to Bezos leadership. Kindle, Amazon’s book reader itself experienced huge sales during Christmas and was in the media for a long time.
4. Indira Nooyi (Pepsi Co)
The only woman CEO on this list, Ms. Nooyi has charmed her male counterparts using her matchless leadership skills. Ms. Nooyi had initiated insistent cost-cutting measures which helped other arms of Pepsi to run smoothly. Her cool temperament despite recession and sliding sales makes her an excellent executive.
5. Raj Gupta (Rohm and Haas Co)
Mr. Gupta of Rohm and Haas has made to this list because the company was the best-performing U.S. stock of 2008. Mr. Gupta deserves to be applauded for his 10 year long loyalty. Some say that Mr. Gupta “inherited a conservative, family-controlled company, modernized it, put in a lot of technology and made it effective.”
6. James Skinner (McDonalds)
Among other low-price fast food giants such as Wendy’s, Burger King and Yum Brands, McDonald’s has so far outperformed all. Skinner reinforced the work ethics that McDonald’s a world giant – improved food and service, expanded the menu and hours and this has finally paid off.
7. Mark V. Hurd (Hewlett Packard)
Hurd’s excellent marketing strategies have helped HP jump into the top most fortune 500 companies in the last five years. Returns and net profits have almost increased four times, lifted by demands for laptops (up 21%) in 2008.
8. Michael T. Duke (Wal-Mart Stores)
In 2008, Wal-Mart had the seventh-best one-year stock return compared to all Fortune 500 companies – 19.99%. Even during tough economic times when consumers were spending very little, Wal-Mart managed to provide sizeable bargains. CEO Michael Duke helped achieve this feat by negotiating with union workers.
9. Katsuaki Watanabe (Toyota)
Toyota continues to churn out innovative products, thanks to Katsuaki Watanabe – President and CEO. Where a few American rival car companies face bankruptcy and extinction, Toyota still stays fairly strong. In spite of a 69 percent drop in net profit, Toyota still made profits in the second fiscal quarter of 2008.
10. Harry Stonecipher (Former CEO of Boeing)
To finish the list, we have included a former CEO of the airline company Boeing – Harry Stonecipher. He along with Alan Mullaly (now CEO of Ford), were responsible for turning around the profits of the troubled company which was facing competition from European rival Airbus.