Meet the Winners
Since 1986, Chief Executive has honored outstanding CEOs with its annual Chief Executive of the Year award, a peer-driven award that has honored many extraordinary leaders, from Jack Welch and Bill Gates to Ann Mulcahy of Xerox and David Cote of Honeywell. Over the years, judges have tended to favor leaders of large, complex companies. Chief Executive felt it was time to honor outstanding, mid-market companies that deserve recognition. These enterprises are the backbone of the economy, generate tremendous growth and often become major, global firms in their own right.
In identifying the best mid-market companies—private or public firms with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion in annual revenues—we used both quantitative and qualitative criteria to sort through the universe of 197,000 firms, according to the National Center for the Middle Market at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University. This meant finding firms that had superior growth relative to their industries, as well as companies with innovative products, compelling leaders, unusual practices/business models or an ability to leverage assets in uncommon ways.
To do this sifting, we have drawn upon a variety of sources. With public companies, for example, we engaged FactSet Research Systems, a Connecticut-based provider of financial information and research to investment professionals worldwide, to identify listed companies that grew faster than their market-sector rates. For private companies, we drew from published lists hailing from the Association for Corporate Growth, The Business Journal, E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year program, the Inc. 5000, as well as data from the Fisher College of Business and GE Capital’s research. In addition, we solicited nominations through Chief Executive’s web site. Through this process, we identified 100 superior performers.
Further personal interviews and additional research allowed us to present the best as finalists to the selection committee of CEOs and experts (see Selection Committee, below) for their consideration.
Our purpose is to draw attention to the triumphs of mid-market enterprises everywhere by identifying a peer-selected group that has distinguished itself in three important areas: Leadership, Innovation and Overall Excellence. This year’s honorees are Anytime Fitness’s Chuck Runyon for Leadership, iSend’s Steve LaBella for Innovation; and Coyote Logistics’ Jeff Silver for Overall Excellence. Their stories follow.