If you think these CEOs are the smartest, the brightest and the most strategic, think again. They may be well-educated, but their real asset isn’t that they can create well-oiled businesses, it is more about whether they can drive up the prices of the company’s stock whether it be with smoke and mirrors or a slight change in company policy and strategy. It is, most definitely, not because they are original thinkers or doers, they know how to finesse, the public, and the stockholders just enough for everyone to see visible changes. That is often all it takes because the truth is, no one has the ability to forecast circumstances, such as recessions, consumer trend shifts and the cost of goods sold.
Of course, in a world that pays movie stars and athletic players more than those who rule countries, it’s all about high visibility at this point. He or she who are in the most visible positions end up receiving both cash and prizes, that’s the way it’s been set up for eternity. It should be no surprise that these business gurus are the celebrities of the business world, so they are used to getting the star treatment.
10. Best Buy CEO – Hubert Joly: $6,517/hour
Hubert Joly is seen as the rainmaker for Best Buy, the Minnesota company that was failing miserably in 2012. The stock was on a fast-road to nowhere and the former CEO was allegedly having an affair with an employee. Evidently, the Best Buy founder was planning a hostile takeover. The changes that Joly has made have completely turned things around. The biggest elephant in the room has been the large Best Buy showrooms and the question has been whether the brick and mortars were worth their weight since consumers can go home and order anything online and get it for less. The new “price guarantee” has changed everything, thanks to Hubert Joly. To think that one, non-original idea could turn around a company and reap such astronomical financial rewards for the initiator makes us all wonder why we aren’t making that kind of coin, right?
9. CVS – Caremark CEO – Larry Menlo: $6,777/hour
Larry Menlo is in the news a lot lately for being the guy to remove cigarette sales from all CVS sales, which will result in a $2 billion loss in revenue. That is a bold move and one that probably came with a trail of hours and hours of executive debates about the leap. Menlo is not worried, but he is also not sure of how the drugstore chain will repurpose the additional space that will be available from the absence of cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia. On a positive note, Menlo is all about making the chain a partner in healthcare. Yet, if studies are correct, sugar is as much, or even more, addictive than cigarettes – so we have to wonder if the chain is prepared to go the mile with the health care claim or if the move was simply newsworthy and relevant to trends. Sounds like a good plan, even if it is a half-baked strategy.
8. Target CEO – Gregg Steinhafel: $6,882/hour
Minutes before this article was written, the announcement came through. Gregg Steinhafel had turned in his resignation. Evidently heads are still being chopped due to the credit and debit card compromise in a data breach that took place over five months ago. Mr. Steinhafel was a Target employee for 35 years, so it seems a harsh punishment for the loyal employee and leader. Target shares immediately declined by 3 percent based on the news. Steinhafel will be temporarily replaced by company chief financial officer, John Mulligan, while the company looks for a replacement. It should be noted that since Steinhafel’s term as CEO began in 2008, the company’s stock has increased over 18 percent.
7. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon: $6,898/hour
This down-to-earth photo of CEO, and president of Walmart Doug McMillon, depicts the natural friendliness and style of the man who wants people to call him, Doug. Former CEO of Wal-Mart International, was recently appointed as the Wal-Mart chief executive officer in February of this year. Prior to his almost ten year stint with Wal-Mart, McMillon was the CEO and president of Sam’s Club – so strategic consumer sales is clearly in his blood. He is known for understanding the Walmart customer and its culture. Evidently, since he moved into the chief position, sales climbed to $165 billion – which makes him worth his salary, according to its board and investors.
6. AT&T Mobility CEO – Ralph de la Vega: $7,412/hour
Ralph de la Vega has been the president and CEO of AT&T Mobility since 2008. Prior to that, Mr. de la Vega was the group president of regional telecommunications and entertain with emphasis on AT&T’s regional wired business. He has pretty much had a life time in the telecommunications industry, having also worked for Cingular, Southern Bell and BellSouth Latin America. He has become known for taking AT&T into the leadership position and maintaining its stature. Recently, the company has been attacked for its $10 million contract with the CIA, which provides the government agency use of its database for counter-terrorism investigations. The shakeout has yet to be seen in terms of customer trust.
5. TJ Maxx CEO – Carol Meyrowitz: $7,256/hour
TJ Maxx and its sister stores, Home Goods and Marshalls, are all under the direction of Carol Meyrowitz and has been since 2007. That means she oversees the profitability of thousands of stores worldwide. The TJ Maxx chain has made great headway over the past few years and Meyrowitz is said to be highly committed to bargain-hunters all over the world. Forbes cited TJ Maxx as one of the stocks to buy in 2014, since Ms. Meyrowitz has managed to boost profits and increase sales since she took the helm.
4. Dollar General CEO – Richard Dreiling: $7,720/hour
Richard Dreiling has been the CEO of Dollar General since 2008 and if you’re not familiar with the company, it owns the Dollar Tree Store chain and Family Dollar Stores. The company has enjoyed 24 years of successful sales. However, recently we got wind that Mr. Dreiling sold his shares in the company on the open market for nearly $19 million. Although this may mean nothing, it has created a little bit of unsteadiness in the market as concerns of a downturn in the stock permeate stockholders. Overall, the chain has been experiencing a decline in sales over the past few quarters – so it’s anyone’s guess what the future will bring.
3. Gap CEO – Glenn K. Murphy: $8,209/hour
Glenn Murphy has been the CEO and Chairman of the Board for Gap, Inc. since 2007. He is the esteemed strategic leader for the company and has proven he is worth his coin after successfully expanding its global growth and enthusiastically inviting digital innovation into the company’s marketing mix. From growth in seven countries to extending its reach to nearly 90 countries, Murphy is doing the job he was hired to do. His nearly 30 years in retail has given him an established track record and his future with the Gap seems assured.
2. McDonald’s CEO – Donald Thompson: $9,247/hour
Donald Thompson is one busy CEO. McDonald’s is one of the most well-known brands in the world and it didn’t get that way by accident. However, in recent news briefs we’re hearing grumblings of McDonald’s fight to stay on trend and relevant. Thompson explains, “We’ve lost some of our customer relevance.” Evidently, the chain has lost nearly 2 percent of their customers globally (1.6 percent in the U.S.). Thompson is ramping up strategies for speedier service, better value and higher-quality food. It’s hard to imagine but McDonald’s Corp. is doing what they can to keep up with shifting food trends. We think Thompson has his work cut out for him, as global trends continue to rapidly change.
1. Starbucks CEO – Howard Schultz: $9,637/hour
Howard Schultz is considered to be one of the innovators for bringing espresso drinks and social settings to the U.S. Evidently, while on a buying trip in Europe in 1985, he noticed the myriad of espresso beverages being sold everywhere in Italy and it was then he realized that the 200,000 cafés were not just about drinks, they were a part of the social culture. As the Director of Marketing, he did his best to persuade Starbucks owners to follow suit in their own distinctive way. The pilot was approved and regardless of its success, they decided not to roll out the idea company-wide. This frustrated him, so he raised enough capital to open his first café, “Il Giornale” and left the company. Long story short, eight year’s later, Schultz returned to Starbucks as the CEO.