The Harvard Business Review has ranked the 100 best CEOs of large, public companies in the world based on performance over their entire time in office. (Or, for those still on the job, up to Sept. 30, 2009.) It features just three U.S. bankers.
At the head of the pack at number 44 is William A. Osborn, who led Northern Trust from 1995 to 2008. He's followed by Charles R. Schwab, who led his eponymous firm from 2004 to 2008, at 90, and John A. Allison IV, who led BB&T from 1995-2008, at number 93.
HBR points out that its ranking overlaps very little with lists of the most-admired or highest-paid CEOs. That’s partly because CEOs had to have assumed the job no earlier than January 1995 to be included. (Sorry, Warren Buffet.) But other celebrity CEOs just weren’t among the top in terms of the shareholder return they’ve delivered so far. No Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase or John Mack of Morgan Stanley, for example.
The ranking combines three measures: country-adjusted stock returns, industry-adjusted stock return, and change in market capitalization during a CEO's tenure. Under Osborn, Northern Trust’s market cap rose by $15 billion, returning 552% on country-adjusted basis and 604% on an industry-adjusted basis. BB&T’s market cap rose by $24 billion during Allison’s tenure, returning 187% on a country-adjusted basis and 189% on an industry-adjusted basis. Schwab’s market cap rose by $21 billion under Charles Schwab’s leadership, returning 187% on a country-adjusted basis and 189% on an indutry-adjusted basis.