About the Award

How the Initial Selection Process Works

Since its inception in 1986, the CEO of the Year Nominations for CEO of the Year are garnered from their executive peers. Nominations for the CEO of the Year must be made by another CEO, Chairman or President, and are accepted throughout the year. CEOs must be in their position for a minimum of 5 years to qualify. There is no charge for nominations or participation in any way.

We alert the CEO community to the call for nominations in Chief Executive magazine and in our eNewsletter, CEO Briefing. The 10 most-frequently nominated CEOs are contacted by our editorial team and asked to provide detailed information on company performance and the CEO’s role. Detailed dossiers, including financial metrics, are prepared on the candidates and provided to the members of the Judging Committee.


The 10 most frequently nominated persons are considered finalists. Each finalist is asked to agree to two very modest conditions before he or she can be considered an active finalist. Each must agree, if selected by his or her peers, to receive the award in person at a date and time mutually convenient with the outgoing CEO of the Year. Secondly, he or she must agree to be interviewed for a cover feature in Chief Executive magazine.

The names of active finalists, together with background data on each, are submitted to the selection committee made up of present and sometimes former CEOs. (Each year’s committee members are featured in the announcement article.) Early in the calendar year the selection committee meets in person to discuss the criteria to be applied and makes its ultimate selection.

Chief Executive has no vote in the outcome and accepts the decision of the judges as final. Some time over the summer, Chief Executive hosts a gala celebratory dinner for the incoming Chief Executive of the Year where the outgoing honoree delivers an accolade on behalf of the CEOs who made the selection. In the early years this was traditionally held at the Metropolitan Club. In more recent years, this has been held at the NYSE.

2017 Selection Committee

Judging and selection of a winner is done by a Judging Committee of distinguished peer CEOs in a meeting held in March at the New York Stock Exchange. The 2017 committee consists of:

Ted Bililies, Ph.D., Managing Director and Chief Talent Officer, AlixPartners, exclusive advisor to the 2017 Selection Committee

Randall Stephenson, Chairman and CEO, AT&T, 2016 Chief Executive of the Year
Cathy Engelbert (CEO, Deloitte LLC)
Dan Glaser (President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan)
Fred Hassan (Managing Director, Warburg Pincus)
Tamara Lundgren (President and CEO, Schnitzer Steel)
Bob Nardelli (CEO, XLR-8)
William R. Nuti (Chairman and CEO, NCR)
Thomas J. Quinlan III (Chairman and CEO, LSC Communications)
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (President and CEO, The Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute)
Mark Weinberger (Chairman and CEO, EY)
Maggie Wilderotter (CEO, Grand Reserve Inns)

Criteria for Evaluating a Chief Executive of the Year

Each year’s selection committee agrees upon the criteria to be used in evaluating finalists. Since 1993, most of the following 11 elements have been used, recognizing that, from year-to-year, committees have emphasized some criteria more than others in reaching their final decision.

Demonstrable impact on company, industry and business in general
Degree of difficulty
Sustained performance
Employee engagement, leadership development and internal people processes
External benchmarks: Customer value and shareholder value created
Moral dimension, personal character (Is there a coherent “higher” purpose?)
CEO respect/beacon of excellence/reputation

Chief Executive magazine (published since 1977) is the definitive source that CEOs turn to for insight and ideas that help increase their effectiveness and grow their business. Chief Executive Group also produces e-newsletters and online content at chiefexecutive.net and manages Chief Executive Network and other executive peer groups, as well as conferences and roundtables that enable top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers. Chief Executive facilitates the annual “CEO of the Year,” a prestigious honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of peers, and is known throughout the U.S. and elsewhere for its annual ranking of Best & Worst States for Business. Visit www.chiefexecutive.net for more information.