These Are the Most Over and Underrated CEOs
Fortune’s survey of the World’s Most Admired Companies, now in its 21st year (and conducted by our partner the Korn Ferry), has always measured the reputations of large corporations as seen by their fellow big-company executives. For the past three years, we’ve also asked our respondents to weigh in on the reputations of the people who lead those enterprises. Specifically, we asked respondents to tell us which CEOs aren’t getting enough credit—and which are getting too much.
For the third year in a row, Satya Nadella of Microsoft took the number one spot as most underrated CEO and Jeff Bezos of Amazon finished second. While the 2017 and 2018 votes were relatively close, Nadella won more than twice as many votes as Bezos in this year’s survey. It’s not coincidental that Nadella has presided over a remarkable revival at Microsoft, as a prescient investment in cloud technology paid off for the company. In November, Microsoft even unseated Apple as the world’s most valuable company by market capitalization—though it was dethroned itself earlier this month by, yes, Amazon.
Of course, this survey is nothing if not subjective. Three CEOs—Bezos, Tim Cook of Apple, and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase—managed to make it on to the most underrated and most overrated lists. One takeaway: Any CEO famous enough to be a virtual brand name is likely to attract as many critics as fans.
Based on 4,243 responses
Satya Nadella, Microsoft: 217 votes
Jeff Bezos, Amazon: 98 votes
Mary Barra, General Motors: 83 votes
Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase: 80 votes
Tim Cook, Apple: 79 votes
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook: 635 votes
Elon Musk, Tesla/SpaceX: 340 votes
Tim Cook, Apple: 183 votes
Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com: 179 votes
Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase: 167 votes