Apple’s CEO tops the magazine’s list of the 50 smartest people in tech



“He is a visionary, a micromanager, and a showman who creates such anticipation around new products that their releases are veritable holidays.”

So begins Jessi Hempel’s assessment of Steve Jobs, Fortune Magazine‘s choice for the “smartest CEO in tech.”

Apple’s AAPL CEO topped the list of Fortune‘s “50 smartest people in tech” feature, part of the drumroll leading up to the magazine’s annual Brainstorm Tech conference, to be held this year in Aspen July 22–24.

The CEO runners up, after Jobs: Amazon’s AMZN Jeff Bezos, Dendreon’s DNDN Mitch Gold, Alibaba’s Jack Ma and Demand Media’s Richard Rosenblatt.

Also on the list: Jonathan Ive, Fortune‘s pick as the smartest designer in tech.

The full text of the Jobs profile is pasted below. For the full 50 smartest list, click here.

Smartest CEO: Steve Jobs
CEO, Apple

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 after a 12-year exile, the company was close to bankruptcy. Thirteen years later it has a market cap of $250 billion and is the world’s most valuable tech company, transforming whole industries along the way. iTunes reinvented music. Pixar, now part of Disney, elevated animated films. The iPhone changed telecom. And the new iPad has other computer makers scrambling to respond. Rocking one industry could be luck, but upending four? That’s smart.

He is a visionary, a micromanager, and a showman who creates such anticipation around new products that their releases are veritable holidays. And Jobs is a pop culture icon like no other business executive: An episode of The Simpsons a few years ago featured a Jobs-like character named Steve Mobs.

His dictator-like control can cause havoc for partners: Jobs, 55, has decided, for example, that Apple products won’t support Adobe Flash, the code most video-heavy websites depend on, leading designers to switch to new tools. But Jobs’ vision is also what gives these devices their elegance, causing consumers’ hearts to flutter. –Jessi Hempel

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]