Every serious contender for CEO of the Year has a stellar track record across every aspect of leading a business or they wouldn’t be in the running. So when the time comes to choose from a roster of superstars, the Selection Committee generally needs to look further. Often, that means looking beyond industry entirely into what individuals have done to positively effect change on a broader scale.
“Every CEO who gets to the table has done a nice job financially and has been a leader in the business community, or they wouldn’t have been nominated,” says Mark Weinberger, CEO of EY and a longstanding member of the committee, who notes that several winners have stood out for devoting time and attention to build more than just their own companies. “We look for those who take on things they don’t need to improve the overall business environment or society as a whole.” Reflecting on previous recipients, Weinberger cites two who stand out for their performance on this criterion.
AT&T’s Randall Stephenson
Stephenson stepped up to the plate to lead the Business Roundtable at a time when he was also guiding AT&T through transformational change. “Chairing the Business Roundtable is a role that takes tremendous energy and time,” says Weinberger. “Randall advocated for business issues broadly for several years and also sits on the board of the Boy Scouts. When you look at things like that layered on top of his [achievements] as a business leader, to me that really distinguishes the world’s best.”
Monsanto’s Hugh Grant
“Hugh is known for his work to support diversity and building an inclusive environment where people can be comfortable bringing themselves to work,” says Weinberger. Grant supports inclusivity by tying executive compensation to diversity metrics and meeting regularly with the company’s 13 resource groups, and he serves as a prominent leader in the community. Both Monsanto and Grant individually have won numerous accolades relating to fostering diversity and a positive work environment, including awards from Glassdoor, Diversity Inc., Forbes and CR Magazine.