Top 25 Best and Worst CEOs for Q309

November 25, 2009

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Brand Metrics | Staffing

General Mills CEO Ken Powell received a 96% approval rating in Q309 and was ranked by employees as the top US CEO for the third consecutive quarter, according to quarterly survey data from Powell is followed on the list by #2 by Edward Zore of Northwestern Mutual and #3 Steve Jobs of Apple. Eric Schmidt of Google and A.G. Lafley of Procter & Gamble tied for #4.


Despite? high ratings for some CEOs, the down economy and internal actions within many of America’s top companies appear to have affected the popularity of CEOs across the board. More than 60% of CEOs on both Glassdoor’s? highest- and lowest-rated lists of 25 recorded a decline in overall approval ratings since the beginning of July. Only 25% moved up.

The survey also found that opinions of the CEOs vary widely depending on whether an employee works close to the power center in the corporate headquarters (who generally but not always rate CEOs higher) or further removed from the CEO in a satellite office (who generally but not always rate CEOs lower).

Highest Rated CEOs

Four out of the top five CEOs reported in Q209 report remain among the top five highest rated CEOs this quarter. These include Powell (96% approval, 3% disapproval), Zore (90% approval, 3% disapproval),? Jobs (90% approval, 4% disapproval) and Schmidt (87% approval, 4% disapproval). Only Powell has been among the top-five highest rated CEOs for three consecutive quarters.

Only three CEOs on the highest-rated list had an uptick in their approval ratings this quarter compared to last, Glassdoor said. These CEOs each achieved a one percentage point improvement this quarter: Chevron’s Dave O’Reilly (79% approval, 11% disapproval), Marriott’s Bill Marriott Jr. (75% approval, 15% disapproval) and Costco’s Jim Sinegal (74% approval, 12% disapproval).

Also of note: Nike CEO Mark G. Parker, though currently ranked at #9, seems to be on a steady downward slope in terms of his approval ratings, Glassdoor observed.

The CEO “Watch List” – Bottom 25

In terms of the least favored CEOs, Frost & Sullivan’s Krishna Srinivasan has moved to the top of this list, with a paltry 4% approval rating and an 84% disapproval rating. Srinivasan’s approval rating is up just one percentage point from early July.


Seven CEOs have been on the Watch List since December 2008: Office Depot’s Steve Odland (7% approval, 80% disapproval); Rain Bird’s Anthony LaFetra (11% approval, 72% disapproval); CSAA Inter-Insurance Bureau’s James Pouliot (13% approval, 72% disapproval); Affiliated Computer Services ‘s Lynn Blodgett (17% approval, 57% disapproval); Amgen’s Kevin Sharer (18% approval, 54% disapproval); eBay’s John Donahoe (20% approval, 53% disapproval); and, Sun Microsystems’ Jonathan Schwartz (21% approval, 57% disapproval).

Since began reporting CEO approval ratings last year, six CEOs on the “Watch List” have left the building.

“Employees present a valuable barometer on the inner workings of companies, particularly in times like these,” said Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of, noting that employee attitudes toward their CEOs are a valuable source of information for a range of stakeholders. “Whether the employee base is satisfied or unsatisfied can severely impact service levels and productivity,” he added.

Recent research from Career Builder confirms that it is more important than ever for a company’s leadership to keep employees engaged, motivated and loyal. A survey found that 40% of US workers say they have had difficulty staying motivated at work in the past year, and 24% do not feel loyal to their current employer.

About the rankings: Glassdoor has been compiling CEO ratings since its launch in 2008. The ratings are calculated by asking employees if they approve or disapprove of the job the CEO is doing. For the chief executives of reviewed companies to be considered, they must have a minimum of 50 reviews. To date, Glassdoor has collected more than 280,000 reviews and salary reports for more than 30,000 companies in 100 countries.

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