Harvard Names Top 100 CEOs

Last Updated Jan 11, 2010 8:09 PM EST

Harvard Business Review recently published its list of the 100 best performing CEOs in the world. While the list contained well-known names, there were a few surprises as well -- especially when considering who was absent. (More on that later.)

Researchers Morten T. Hansen, Herminia Ibarra and Urs Peyer took a unique approach in compiling their list, in that they considered the performance of CEOs of large, public companies over their entire time on the job.

"Today boards of directors, senior managers and investors intensely want to know how CEOs handle the ups and downs of running businesses over an extended period," they write. "Many executive compensation plans define the long term as a three-year horizon, but the real test of a CEO's leadership has to be how the company does over his or her full tenure."

So who made the top 10? (Drum roll, please.) They are:

The researchers wrote that no single sector or place emerged as having the most powerful CEOs, but that "high-performance is fairly spread out across both countries and industries." Notably absent from the list, however, are any women aside from Whitman. Yet Whitman's presence in the top 10 shows a bit of progress: "A decade ago only three women headed large public companies in the US; today 15 make the Fortune 500 list," they write.

Image courtesy of Flickr user The Suss-Man (Mike), CC 2.0.

  • Stacy Blackman

    Stacy Sukov Blackman is president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, where she consults on MBA admissions. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy serves on the Board of Directors of AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and has published a guide to MBA Admissions, The MBA Application Roadmap.