This Is One Incredible CEO


The Motley Fool's readers have spoken, and I have heeded your cries. After months of pointing out CEO gaffes and faux pas, I've decided to make it a weekly tradition to also point out corporate leaders who are putting the interests of shareholders and the public first and are generally deserving of praise from investors. For reference, here is last week's selection.

This week, I want to take a closer look at TIBCO Software's (NAS: TIBX) CEO, Vivek Ranadive, and show you why he's an incredible leader to both shareholders and employees.

Kudos to you, Mr. Ranadive
If there's anything we've learned from Mr. Ranadive at TIBCO Software, it's not how much money you spend, it's how hard you work with what you've got that makes you great.

TIBCO, a middleware company that provides service-oriented architecture that allows enterprises to easily access and store applications and data over the Internet, has demonstrated a nice mixture of organic and acquisition-related growth over the past nine years. Earlier this year, TIBCO purchased security management company LogLogic and in 2007 bought Spotfire, whose analytic software is helping drive TIBCO's bottom line. In fact, since 2003 TIBCO has grown revenue at an average pace of 16.9% per year with operating margins rising in each of the past three years.

Now compare this with many larger software companies that haven't adapted their product line to cater to the cloud and you'll see a marked difference. IBM (NYS: IBM) , Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) , and Oracle (NAS: ORCL) have looked toward acquisitions to drive growth as Europe's spending woes weigh on their results. HP's purchase of Autonomy for $10.3 billion left many investors scratching their heads with disbelief, while Oracle's purchase of Sun Microsystems a few years ago reeked of desperation to find growth avenues. IBM has been no stranger to the acquisition front, acquiring Emptoris, SPSS, Tealeaf Technology, and Netezza all within the past three years. Yet, none of these juggernauts can match the value per dollar that TIBCO has received from its purchases.

A step above his peers
As always, I love a company that rewards its shareholders with steady growth. TIBCO delivered again this quarter with sales growth of 14% and profit growth of 24% (consistent with those rising operating margins I spoke of earlier). But being a great leader is more than just delivering for shareholders -- it's delivering for the people who make your company great. Ranadive has stepped in two ways to ensure his company is a top stop for some of today's top graduates from Stanford and M.I.T.

First, in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this past January, Ranadive noted his intent to aggressively hire up to 500 people this year. Not only is it great that TIBCO is hiring when everyone else isn't, but it's looking for talent within the United States!

Second, and perhaps the biggest draw of TIBCO, is the company's benefits package, which is matched by very few companies. According to a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Managers, of the 51% of companies that offered employees paid time off, only 1% offered what amounts to unlimited paid time off. TIBCO is one such company that allows its employees to take as much time off as they need as long as they get their work done and it's cleared by a manager. Zynga (NAS: ZNGA) is another of the very few publicly traded companies that allows this practice (FYI, although we aren't a publicly traded company, The Motley Fool also offers unlimited vacations... hip-hip-hooray!).

But wait... I'm not done! In addition to unlimited vacation, TIBCO offers a benefits package complete with medical, dental, and vision coverage, disability and life insurance, a 401(k) plan with company match, a hybrid car subsidy (should you choose to buy one), tuition reimbursement, and on-site laundry, massages, and literally much, much more! If there was any wonder why TIBCO is retaining and attracting top-tier talent, it's because of its employee-friendly atmosphere.

Two thumbs up
Running a software company isn't easy, but Vivek Ranadive makes it look incredibly easy. His actions as CEO continue to foster a sense of community among employees and TIBCO's regular outperformance of its peers confirms his position as a great CEO. Keeping this short and sweet, Mr. Ranadive, job well done -- two thumbs-up!

Do you have a CEO you'd like to nominate for this prestigious weekly honor? Shoot me an email and a one- or two-sentence description of why your choice deserves next week's nomination, and you just might see your nominee in the spotlight.

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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He loves giving credit when credit is due. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool owns shares of International Business Machines and Oracle. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of TIBCO Software and creating a synthetic long position in International Business Machines. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published