The new list of the best CEOs in the US, compiled by Comparably, has the Microsoft boss ahead of The Home Depot CEO, Craig Menear.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on December 12, 2018

Google’s Sundar Pichai placed third on the list of the best CEOs of large companies.

David Cancel of Massachusetts-based messaging software company Drift topped the list of CEOs of small and medium-sized companies.

Satya Nadella rated the best CEO in the US by his employees

The list of best CEOs is based on anonymous ratings of CEOs provided by employees to Comparably.com, a website that monitors compensation and employee satisfaction levels.

It places companies with more than 500 employees (and at least 50 employee participants) in the ‘large company’ category, while small to mid-size winners must have less than 500 employees and a minimum of 15 employee participants. More than 10 million ratings across 50,000 US companies went into the final data set.

Jason Nazar, CEO and Co-Founder of Comparably, said Nadella had “incredible scores from his team”.

“Microsoft was not the darling of the tech space three-plus years ago,” he noted. “Now they’ve been in the news for being the most valuable company in the world. I think the team is really excited about what he’s done to build that business.”

Other notable CEOs on the list of large company leaders included Jeff Bezos (Amazon, #6), Marc Benioff (Salesforce, #9), Tim Cook (Apple, #12) Elon Musk (Space X/Tesla, #19), Reed Hastings (Netflix, #32) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, #33).

The highest-ranked woman on the list was Lynn Jurich of solar power company Sunrun, who placed eleventh.

Microsoft also topped Forbes’ Most Just Companies list

Nadella’s honour on the Comparably list came just a day after Microsoft topped Forbes’ list of Most Just Companies in the US, just ahead of Intel (#2) and Alphabet (#3).

Compiled in partnership with Just Capital, Forbes’ list ranked the top 890 publicly traded companies, with points awarded for fair salaries, treating customers well, protecting customers’ privacy, producing quality products, mitigating environmental impact, implementing diverse and ethical leadership groups and creating job opportunities.

The acclaim for Nadella’s performance caps a resurgent time for Microsoft. Once considered to have fallen far behind other tech giants such as Apple, Alphabet and Facebook, the company successfully transitioned its core business to cloud computing and was recently competing for the mantle of the world’s largest company by market cap.

During his leadership, Microsoft has continued to make significant acquisitions, purchasing LinkedIn in 2016 and giant software development platform Github earlier this year. It also acquired conversational AI company XOXCO last month, one of a number of strategic moves to gain a foothold in AI.

Nadella has also wound back any drift towards a one-size-fits-all international strategy at Microsoft. “The only tenable, long-term, stable strategy for a multinational company is going to be about the local opportunity that you create in every country you operate in,” he told Wired.

Comparably’s best CEOs of 2018

    Best CEOs, Large companies:
  • 1. Satya Nadella, Microsoft (Redmond, WA)
  • 2. Craig Menear, The Home Depot (Atlanta, GA)
  • 3. Sundar Pichai, Google (Mountain View, CA)
  • 4. Brad Smith, Intuit (Mountain View, CA)
  • 5. Brian Halligan, Hubspot (Cambridge, MA)
  • 6. Jeff Bezos, Amazon (Seattle, WA)
  • 7. Bert Bean, Insight Global (Atlanta, GA)
  • 8. Alex Shootman, Workfront (Lehi, UT)
  • 9. Marc Benioff, Salesforce (San Francisco, CA)
  • 10. John Legere, T-Mobile (Bellevue, WA)
    1. Best CEOs, Small and Mid-sized Companies:
  • 1. David Cancel, Drift
  • 2. Sameer Dholakia, SendGrid
  • 3. Giuseppe Incitti, Sitetracker
  • 4. Robert Wahbe, Highspot
  • 5. Gavan Thorpe, Boostability
  • 6. Mahe Bayireddi, Phenom People
  • 7. Ariel Cohen, TripActions
  • 8. Greg Besner, CultureIQ
  • 9. Bob Pritchett, Faithlife
  • 10. Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble
  • Header image credit: Bhupinder Nayyar