The 10 Best CEOs of the Past 10 Years: Part 2

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Here at the Fool, we believe that the quality of a CEO can make or break a company. At the same time, however, we recognize that determining the precise value of a CEO's contribution to his or her company is easier said than done. For example, how do you quantify Steve Jobs' creative influence at Apple (NAS: AAPL) or Reed Hastings' recent missteps at Netflix (NAS: NFLX) ?

Enter Chiefist.com, a new member-based service that seeks to do just that. It analyzes data on CEO compensation and company performance, and then ranks companies according to management quality. This article is the second in a series using three Chiefist screens aimed at identifying the 10 best CEOs over the past decade.

The screen in this article is limited to the S&P 500 and ranks CEOs according to Chiefist's proprietary market capitalization formula -- which, as I understand it, approximates total market capitalization growth for the chosen time period (in this case, the past 10 years). As you'll see in the table below, this list contains a number of both usual and unusual suspects.

As a side note, I also included a column with my own estimate of the companies' growth in market cap to serve as a check on the rankings. And while they don't match up exactly, there's no question that all 10 CEOs have reigned over a decade of massive growth.

Rank

CEO

Company

Industry

2010 Compensation

10-Year Market Cap Growth

1Steve Jobs*AppleIT Hardware$15,497%
2John PinkertonRange ResourcesEnergy Exploration$6,633,9774,358%
3Jeff BezosAmazonE-Commerce$1,681,8403,529%
4Reed HastingsNetflixE-Commerce$5,516,6331,930%**
5Debra CafaroVentasReal Estate$8,541,1061,713%
6Merrill MillerNational Oilwell Varco (NYS: NOV) Energy Exploration$9,250,8711,749%
7John McAdamF5 Networks (NAS: FFIV) IT Hardware$8,884,9621,659%
8Aubrey McClendonChesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) Energy Exploration$21,044,9521,402%
9Tim SolsoCummins (NYS: CMI) Heavy Equipment$9,111,7271,213%
10Richard SmuckerJ.M. Smucker Co.Food and Beverage$7,977,283997%

Source: Chiefist.com and S&P Capital IQ. *While I'm aware that Steve Jobs is no longer Apple's CEO, I nevertheless deemed it appropriate to include him on the list. **Netflix's market capitalization growth figure is calculated from its May 2002 IPO.

Foolish bottom line
While our mission here at The Motley Fool is to "educate, amuse, and enrich," we often learn as much from readers as you all do from us. So let me know what you think about Chiefist's rankings by leaving a comment in the box below. And be sure to let me know if your favorite CEO isn't on the list and the reasons why he/she should be.

As a final note, I invite you to check out a free report that we recently released detailing 11 rock-solid dividend stocks that will stuff your mailbox with fat dividend checks each quarter in the years to come. To access this free report while it's still available, click here now.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor John Maxfield, J.D., does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of National Oilwell Varco and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Netflix, Apple, National Oilwell Varco, Cummins, Chesapeake Energy, Range Resources, and Amazon.com, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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