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These Are the Top CEOs (According to Employees)

Daniel B. Kline, The Motley Fool


Success often comes from the top down. A good CEO sets the tone for his or her company and inspires employees to do the best job possible.

That's why investors should look for companies with a top executive who's not just well-liked by the public, but also by the people who work for her or him. The annual Glassdoor Employee Choice awards used data from workers "who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback by completing a company review about their CEO's leadership, along with insights into their job, work environment and employer over the past year," according to a press release.

These rankings aren't about public perception. They rank the CEOs of companies with at least 1,000 workers using at least 100 ratings from employees during the eligible period.

A pyramid of black-and-white puzzle pieces showing head-and-shoulder outlines, with a red-and-white one at the top

A good CEO can set the tone for the whole company. Image source: Getty Images.

Who are the top big company CEOs?

The majority of the top-50 CEOs (27) come from technology companies. That's up from 26 last year. That was followed by healthcare with 12, up from 11 in 2018; manufacturing with eight; and both retail and restaurants claiming seven spots. (Note: This is at the time of the awards, as some CEOs have since departed.)

  1. VMware : Pat Gelsinger
  2. H-E-B: Charles C. Butt
  3. In-N-Out Burger: Lynsi Snyder
  4. T-Mobile US : John Legere
  5. Adobe : Shantanu Narayen
  6. Microsoft : Satya Nadella
  7. McKinsey & Company: Kevin Sneader
  8. LinkedIn: Jeff Weiner
  9. Intuitive Surgical : Gary S. Guthart
  10. Best Buy : Hubert Joly
  11. Sammons Financial Group: Esfand Dinshaw
  12. Bain & Company: Manny Maceda
  13. Stryker : Kevin A. Lobo
  14. CoverMyMeds: Matt Scantland
  15. Deloitte: Cathy Engelbert
  16. HubSpot : Brian Halligan
  17. salesforce.com : Marc Benioff and Keith Block
  18. NVIDIA : Jen-Hsun Huang
  19. Vi: Randy Richardson
  20. CareSource: Erhardt Preitauer

What's clear from the rankings is that there's very little separation between the top CEOs. The top-ranked leaders scored a 99% approval ranking from their employees, while the 20th-ranked CEO still scored a 96% approval rating.

"Today's job seekers are looking for leaders who share their values and will empower them to bring their full selves to work," said Glassdoor COO Christian Sutherland-Wong in a press release. "More and more, we're seeing Top CEOs make decisions to shape the culture of their organizations to help recruit and retain quality talent, which has a direct correlation to fueling business success."

What does this mean for job seekers?

While a good CEO does not guarantee a pleasant working environment, it's a very good sign. As you search for a job, it's smart to research a company's top boss . If it's someone on this list, that's a strong point in favor of your accepting the position.

Most CEOs, however, don't make this list -- and the leaders of smaller companies may be harder to find information on. When you consider accepting a job at a smaller company, try to talk to present employees to get their opinion. Look to see if the average person has been there for a long time -- that's generally a good sign -- and learn what you can about the CEO's reputation.

Your position may be many levels removed from the CEO, but that doesn't mean the CEO won't affect you. Awful bosses tend to create negative cultures that infect the entire organization. It's important to figure out whether that's the case before you make the decision to accept a job.

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Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline owns shares of Microsoft. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends HubSpot, Intuitive Surgical, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool recommends Adobe Systems, T-Mobile US, and VMware. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .