Steve Jobs is the No. 4 ‘wealth creator’

December 20, 2010, 10:51 PM UTC

Apple’s CEO moved up 31 places in Chief Executive magazine’s 2010 ranking

Only Priceline’s (PCLN) Jeffrey Boyd, Aflac’s (AFL) Daniel Amos and Federated Investors’ (FII) Christopher Donahue created more wealth in 2010 than Apple’s (AAPL) Steve Jobs, according to
Chief Executive
‘s third annual ranking of 338 U.S. CEOs.

The magazine’s wealth creation index leans heavily on the concept of economic margin — defined as (operating cash flow – capital charge)/invested capital — which measures the degree to which a company is making money in excess of its risk-adjusted capital cost.

It’s an interesting metric because it isn’t dependent on share price, a more familiar measure and one by which the top wealth-creating CEOs also tended to do well. Apple’s stock price is up 50.6% since January

For the record, this year’s No. 1 wealth destroyer, according to Chief Executive, is Dean Food’s (DF) Gregg Engles. Microsoft’s (MSFT) Steve Ballmer is the No. 73 wealth creator, having dropped 65 places from his No. 8 slot in 2009.

Below: The magazine’s top 10 wealth creators and top 10 wealth destroyers.

Click to enlarge. Source: Chief Executive

You can see the full list here.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]