The Best Performing CEOs – What Goes Up Must Come Down

by Oct 27, 2014

It has been a fascinating week with respect to CEO profiles. We have seen the release of the HBR Best Performing CEOs. Here is a table from the report of the top 10 CEOs. See http://hbr.org/2014/11/the-best-performing-ceos-in-the-world/ar/1

top ceo

To quote from the report:

"He (Jeff Bezos) and his team have achieved that feat by sticking steadfastly—even boringly—to a few key principles (outlined in his 1997 shareholder letter, which he still sends to investors every year). Instead of focusing on competitors or technology shifts, they continually invest in getting a little bit better. In their core retail business, they grind out incremental improvements in delivery speed and product offerings while chipping away at prices. As Amazon continues to move into completely new industries—it’s now a serious player in cloud computing, online video, e-readers, and other devices—some see a company that’s pioneering a new model. “In some ways he’s invented a new philosophy for running a business,” says Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store, a best-selling Bezos biography. “Even as Amazon grows, he’s focused on reinvesting to make it even bigger—and because that means it shows no profits, he avoids paying dividends or corporate taxes.”

And then, the down. In the Hunnington Post just yesterday:

"Jeff Bezos had a bad week.

Calls to rein in the ambitious Amazon chief executive grew loud on Thursday after the e-commerce giant reported its biggest quarterly loss in 14 years, driven by the anemic sales of its Fire Phone, the company’s first smartphone. The losses were seen as proof of Bezos’ reckless obsession with prioritizing growth over profitability. The 50-year-old tech mogul was lambasted as a megalomaniacal “Grinch” who stole Christmas from a company so bad at making money that it’s “not a real business.”

Fact is - being a CEO is tough. Very tough. And lonely. Do we crucify Jeff for the latest market downturn, or do we support him for one of the most innovative companies in the world? As the Hufifngton Post goes on to report:

"Yet, according to the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, Bezos is the best-performing CEO in the world. Despite the latest bad news, the venerable magazine stands by that assessment.

“People have bet against him over the years, and historically they’ve been wrong,” Daniel McGinn, the senior editor who profiled Bezos, told The Huffington Post on Saturday. “He definitely has a set of shareholders who have faith in him because of his ability to deliver despite a lot of doubt over the last 20 years.”

What do you think?

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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