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Most Ambitious CEO in the Universe

December 4, 2014

Google’s Larry Page has been designated in the Dec. 1, 2014 Fortune as the most ambitious CEO in the Universe.  Congrats to him, but what I want to talk about is the makeup of the Top 20.

The CEOs are from Google, Apple, Gilead Sciences, Chipotle, ITT, Disney, Foot Locker, Ulta Beauty, Biogen, Alibaba, FedEx, TJX Cos, Facebook, Theranos, Under Armour, Intuit, Southwest Airlines, Tesla, Charles Schwab and Williams-Sonoma.

Some of these companies are among the best known and a few are not so well-known.  Some, like ITT, Disney and Foot Locker (the former Woolworth) are long established while some are not even a generation old.  What they all have in common are that they have taken their companies forward using new business models and strategic initiatives while evidencing superb financial performance and personal influence and leadership.

A common thread is the ability of these companies to adopt and adapt to the new way business is done.  Agility, innovation, buy-in and quick change are not traits we usually ascribe to super large companies, but these all did it.  This, alone, makes them remarkable, especially with their great success.

CEOs get ideas, develop visions, need to get buy-in from their Board and those under them who will execute the plan in a way that doesn’t disrupt continuing operations.  In effect, they are creating new ventures alongside existing business.  Some of the companies started out at a very fast pace from the beginning like Google, Facebook and Alibaba, but they never stopped innovating, growing and focusing on the bottom line.  Tim Cook built upon Steve Jobs’ creations adding enhancements and new products.  Gilead, Biogen and Theranos created drugs and health systems that prolong and make life more comfortable for millions.  Chipotle gave us fast food that is also healthy and high-quality.  Disney creates fun and has found new ways of delivering it.  Foot Locker, Under Armour, Ulta Beauty, Williams-Sonoma and TJX have changed retailing and expanded their markets in physical locations and web based presence.  Charles Schwab added personalized services to their very low-cost computerized model.  Tesla and Southwest are both renegades in their industry with a growing customer base.  Intuit practicality owns the markets they are in, and yet have made tremendous changes during the last two years.  ITT is the only diversified manufacturer in the group and is not the company it was 20 years ago.  FedEx delivers the things we buy in an amazingly quick and efficient way.

The article has a descriptive paragraph explaining why each CEO was chosen.  I suggest reading it and comparing it to you and your company.  Opportunities exist for innovation, enhancements, different marketing and distribution models and new product development.  The CEOs selected cover many industries indicating the universal benefits of creative, informed and tuned-in management at the top.

The article and these remarkable people prove that opportunities still exist.  They just need ambition, imagination, focus and buy-in.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 6hawthorne permalink
    December 4, 2014 12:45 pm


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