Close this search box.
Close this search box.

How Wealth-Creation Metrics Can Help Every Business Become More Valuable

In the sixth annual ranking of the Chief Executive/Applied Finance Group wealth creators, more and more leaders are showing that they have both the discipline and staying power to sustain real value creation.

How Wealth-Creation Metrics Can Help Every Business Become More Valuable

In addition to the recommendations provided in this sidebar last year (see Chief Executive, Nov./Dec. 2012, pp. 58-9), here are five major takeaways from an analysis of the Index’s past six years’ Best and Worst Wealth-Creator profiles: the reasons why businesses did well or didn’t:

Design: Far and away, the most powerful reason for prospering, or failure to do so, was the design of the business—how it makes money. Amazon is a good example. Their customer-value proposition (product range and selection, information on and customer reviews of what it offers, the actual buying experience and the pricing) is compelling, combined with the overall design of its service and the business’s seemingly endless ability to scale. That said, Amazon’s choice to operate on razor-thin margins has both fueled its revenue growth and led investors to continue griping, (“When are we going to make some real money here?”) as it continues to reinvest in its business. But its three-year total return is 27 percent, so Jeff Bezos just might be right, long term. In contrast, Dell, once a business-design innovator, is now reduced to offering commodity technology and competing on price.

Capital Management: The next reason for notable success, or the lack thereof, is wise management of capital. While Gilead Sciences, one of this year’s top wealth creators, has proved adept at this practice by, for example, partnering rather than making “whole hog” investments, the Rowan Companies, one of this year’s worst, has a pattern of investing in oil-drilling rigs, on which there’s an uncertain return. It hasn’t exceeded its risk-adjusted cost of capital in the past three years.

Brand Building: A strong brand can make an enormous contribution to business value. Here, a great example is Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniels’ brand (another of this year’s profiled best wealth creators).

Product Design: The design of what your business offers—its products and services—is another pivotal factor in succeeding or not, witness Apple.

Leadership: And the last factor, for this year, in how well a business fares lies in the mindset of its leader—intent. What do you, as a leader, want, and how serious are you about it, really? This is not about beating up the sales force for better results. Rather, it’s about wanting to grow and then figuring how, specifically, your business will do so (harnessing a great business design, brand, suite of offerings, etc.). Amazon’s Bezos is the top-of-mind poster child for intent. Others come to mind, like David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell), with its energetic push to deepen its global presence. —Drew Morris

2013 Wealth Creators Index Links:

CEO Value Maximizers
How Wealth-Creation Metrics Can Help Every Business Become More Valuable
Complete List of 2013 Wealth Creators Index
Ranking CEO Wealth Creation
How to Move Up in the Rankings


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.