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Best CEO’s Braved a Brutal Year (Wall Street Journal)

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO  By nearly anyone’s accounting, 2008 has been a brutal year to be a CEO. In fact, finding a way to survive these turbulent times was nearly all it took to make today’s (December 22, 2008) Wall Street Journal article of 2008’s best CEO’s. Erin White and Scott Thurman wrote a piece for the Theory & Practice column in the Management section entitled Best CEO’s Braved a Brutal Year. (Free content) Four management professors from some of the most prestigious business schools in the world offered their picks of CEO’s who fared well in one of the most difficult business environments in memory.

The picks included “the best of the bleak, but no spectacular performer,” says Michael Useem, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, one of the selectors. “This is the year from hell, and anybody who kept their head above water and managed to keep the company from dramatically dropping off a cliff deserves applause and accolades.”

The professors and their picks:

This sadly sums it all up:

Stanford’s Mr. Pfeffer nominated Toyota’s leader, without knowing his name. That’s a good thing, Mr. Pfeffer says: “Sometimes you want leaders whose names you don’t know,” because they’re not famous for the wrong reasons.

Photo credit: Steve Jobs by dfarber on

About the author

Peter A. Mello, Founder/Editor Founder of Weekly Leader and Sea-Fever Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and strategic communications consultancy. Previously, CEO of an international nonprofit organization and COO of a national insurance/risk management services firm. Peter has been leading people and managing organizations for over 30 years, writes a leadership column for MarineNews magazine and blogs about maritime culture at Sea-Fever. Follow him on Twitter.

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