The top 50 CEOs delivered an average total shareholder return of 73.3% since June 2007, according to a new study published by Chief Executive magazine and calculated by Applied Finance Group. That performance handily beats the 14.9% average of the S&P 500 during the same period.
Priceline CEO Jeff Boyd took the spot as the #1 value creator based on the success he has had in taking his company’s online travel services to international markets, expanding market share and growing the top line—while keeping tight controls on costs.
Other stellar wealth creators include Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos and Douglas Baker of Ecolab, both of whom return to the top 10 from last year, showing that strong execution skills translate into wealth-creating staying power.
TOP 10 WEALTH CREATORS
“The past 12 months have not been an easy time to grow—or for companies that already had high levels of ‘Economic Margin,’ which is profit in excess of their risk-adjusted cost of capital,” says Drew Morris, CEO of Great Numbers!, who contributed to the study. “The more profitable a company is, the more difficult it is to maintain high levels of profitability when competitors step up and target market leaders.”
Similarly, the regulatory environment can make it difficult for companies to maneuver. Both financial and healthcare companies have become the worst-performing sectors over the last 12 months, leading even well-managed organizations to struggle to maintain past success. MasterCard, which led the rankings last year, for example, slipped to No. 24—a still-respectable score. Federated Investors, however, has consistently stayed in the top three since the value creation index was conceived three years ago.
David Yost of Amerisource Bergen, Theodore Solso of Cummins, Gregory Johnson of Franklin Resources, Mark Templeton of Citrix Systems, Chris Begley of Hospira and James Rohr of PNC Financial were among the leaders who advanced at least 100 positions in rank since 2009.The CEO Wealth Creation Index also lists the top wealth destroyers. The leaders of this dubious distinction include:
- Gregg Engles, CEO, Dean Foods
- Thomas Ryan, CEO, CVS Caremark
- Irene Rosenfeld, CEO, Kraft Foods
- Paul Evanson, CEO, Allegheny Energy
- Myron Ullman, III, CEO, J.C. Penney
Other value destroyers include the CEOs of Computer Sciences, Dow Chemical and the Washington Post.
“While some of the value destroyers were in the wrong industries at the wrong time, these CEOs tended to compound their companies’ problems by making expensive acquisitions or buybacks at the wrong time, as well as other strategic blunders,” noted Chief Executive Editor in Chief J.P. Donlon.
The CEO Wealth Creation examined S&P 500 CEOs who had been in their jobs for at least three years in order to get a fair appraisal of CEO actions under varying conditions. REITs were excluded. For the full story, complete rankings and methodology, please click here.
Chief Executive Group elevates the effectiveness of CEOs and the enterprises they lead through peer-to-peer networks and collegial learning. The Group produces Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977), ChiefExecutive.net, and conferences and roundtables. The Group also produces the annual “Chief Executive of the Year” award dinner with NYSE Euronext at the New York Stock Exchange.