Ranking of The Best CEOs In The World

Harvard Business Review posted its latest list ranking of the top 100 CEOs in the World that have the best performance in the long term.

This list doesn’t focus on short-term returns but examines the CEOs that have provided their respective companies with the best returns over time.

Top Three Spots

The coveted top spot on the list goes to the CEO of Novo Nordisk, a company in Denmark that produces medications, Lars Sørensen.

Second on the list is Martin Sorrell, who is the CEO of WPP, which is an advertising firm in the United Kingdom.

The third spot goes to Inditex’s CEO, Pablo Isla, who heads this Spanish-based fashion retailer.


Before the Harvard Business Review changed the way that it ranked this list, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Internet powerhouse Amazon, had been in the top spot. However, since HBR changed its criteria to add in ESG, or the environmental, social and governance factors, he dropped down to the 87 spot in 2015.

In 2016, Bezos moved up the ranks to 76. When it comes to just the financial aspects of this ranking, Bezos still leads the pack of CEOs as he has done so for three years running. The thing is that Harvard Business Review has determined that these additional metrics add value to long-term performance.

Compilation Method

The list was compiled by HBR examining the CEOs of companies ranked on the S&P Global 1,200.

The rankings were calculated using the returns that shareholders received overall, along with the market capitalization that happened under the CEO’s career at that company.

Also factored in were the ratings of the ESG performance.

Additional Interesting Statistics

There are a few additional statistics that can be drawn from this list.

  • It is interesting to note that being on this list doesn’t guarantee being able to keep a CEO position. Lars Sørensen will be retiring in December, ahead of when he was expected to retire, after Novo Nordisk’s stock dipped by almost 20 percent back in August.
  • Of the 100 CEOs on this list, there are 22 nationalities represented, with the companies based in 19 different countries.
  • There were only two women on this list this year, Ventas’ Debra Cafaro and Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson. Only three percent of the 886 companies that HBR studied to create this list have female executives in charge.

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