In a highly competitive and technology-driven global marketplace, Barron’s had little difficulty identifying CEOs who delivered value not only for shareholders, but for customers and employees. Indeed, this year’s list of 30 top CEOs saw a substantial number of additions and deletions. Notably absent from this years list is Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Steve Jobs, who passed away last year. Reed Hastings of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) also slipped off the list after the DVD-rental and movie streaming firm made a series of highly publicized missteps that alienated customers and caused its shares to tumble last year.
Here are five of Barron’s top CEOs for 2012:
- Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM): Barron’s hails Benioff as the “king of the cloud,” having oriented the company toward its software-as-a-service business model before others had even coined the term. Founding Salesforce.com after he departed Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL) in 1999, he led the company from start-up to cloud-computing giant boasting $2.7 billion in annual revenues. Now he’s adapting social media networks like Facebook in customer communication channels.
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN): Most of the early Internet pioneers have faltered, with companies like Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and AOL (NYSE:AOL) humbled by mistakes and trounced by more agile competitors. Not Amazon, however. The online book retailer transformed itself into an online virtually everything retailer and revolutionized publishing with its line of Kindle e-readers.
- Jeffrey Boyd, Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN): The hotel and travel booking website continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Barron’s notes that Priceline shares have strongly beaten the S&P 500 for five years running. The company now derives 80% of revenues from overseas bookings, and it’s making rapid strides in Asia after a successful conquest of the European market.
- Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A): A list of leading CEOs wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the “Oracle of Omaha.” In recent years Buffett has become something of a public figure whose influence even extends to the White House. Meanwhile, Berkshire Hathaway continues to post astonishing numbers, including $11 billion in profits in 2011, further cementing his legendary status.
- Ed Clark, TD Bank (NYSE:TD): TD Bank specializes in keeping its customers happy with extras like dog treats and branches that are open seven days a week. It’s a recipe that seems to be working. Since he brought Toronto-based TD Bank into the New York market, it has risen steadily to the fifth spot surpassing many other players.
To see Barron’s full list of top global CEOs, click here.