CEO of the decade: Steve Jobs

MarketWatch gives the Apple chief the award, citing Jobs' revolutionary leadership and drive.

By Kim Peterson Dec 8, 2010 4:22PM
Credit: (© Paul Sakuma/AP)
Caption: Apple CEO Steve JobsForget the award for CEO of the year. Too easy. How about CEO of the decade? MarketWatch hands that title to none other than Steve Jobs of Apple (AAPL).

"Steve Jobs is known as both mercurial and visionary, part rock-star CEO and part master salesman, a meticulous micromanager who can drive his employees to distraction -- and one of the most important figures in American industry in the past half-century," writes Russ Britt.

It's hard to argue with his choice, even though Apple shares were in the basement for the full first half of the decade in question. But what a remarkable climb they started in 2006, eventually making Apple the single most important company in the sector, with a market cap of $294 billion.

In fact, investors who bought $1,000 worth of Apple stock at the end of 2000 would have around $43,000 in shares today, Britt writes.

Here are some of the reasons MarketWatch gave Jobs the honor:
  • He "almost single-handedly" saved the recording industry with the iPod and iTunes.
  • He revolutionized handheld devices and touch-screen technology with the iPhone.
  • Apple expanded significantly in the decade, going from 8,500 to 46,000 employees.
  • Sales are up twelvefold from the end of 2000, Britt writes, going from $5.4 billion to $65.2 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.
  • Jobs did a great job running Pixar for many years before selling the studio to Walt Disney (DIS) in 2006.
The choice of Jobs is clearly the best one, given the other CEOs who were finalists for the award. MarketWatch said it was also considering Jeff Bezos of Amazon (AMZN), Eric Schmidt of Google (GOOG), Howard Schultz of Starbucks (SBUX) and Tim Solso of Cummins (CMI).

But MarketWatch readers had their own guy in mind for CEO of the year, voting for Alan Mulally of Ford (F).

Dec 8, 2010 6:35PM

I don't even know where to start with this one.  People forget Jobs was kicked out of Apple in 1985.  They forget he was against compensating his founding developers with stock. Wozniak had to give up some of his own shares to make things right.  They forget he would not acknowledge his illegitimate daughter and would not pay child support.  They forget he regularly bullies his employees and blames others for his own mistakes.   They forget he bases his whole marketing campaign on the fact that Apples are not PCs.  He turned the whole company around

single handedly?  Really?  Without any help from the other 34,999 employees?  Why not fire their lazy butts then? Welcome to the reality distortion field.

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