Who are the business leaders of past and present whose careers most inspire you?
In the latest episode of Fortune’s Tech-Cetera series, we asked several top executives which CEOs, living or dead, they would most want to have dinner with if given the opportunity. Not surprisingly, the most popular answer among this group of executives was Apple co-founder and tech visionary Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011.
“Steve Jobs, by far,” said Gadi Amit, the president and founder of tech design firm NewDealDesign.
R.J. Pittman, the chief product officer for online marketplace eBay, noted that he actually already dined with Jobs roughly 25 years ago. But Pittman said he’d still opt to eat with the “Think different” pioneer.
“I had a great dinner with Steve Jobs back in 1992,” Pittman said. “If I could do that all over again, [I would].”
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In a similar vein, several other executives chose current Apple CEO Tim Cook, who worked with Jobs and took over the company six years ago. Some of the reasons for leaders choosing Cook included the fact that the Apple leader has spoken out about the need for increased diversity in Silicon Valley, as well as the challenges Cook has faced in taking over a company from such an iconic and revered leader as Jobs.
“It’s very interesting to own ideas and to shape a company that you didn’t invent,” J.P. Morgan vice president Noah Wintroub said.
Other famous business titans who received mentions included Andrew Carnegie, the steel tycoon who championed philanthropy by giving away much of his fortune, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.
“It would be hard to turn down someone who is thinking about travel to other planets,” Chris Curtin, Visa’s chief brand and innovation marketing officer, said of Musk.