Best CEOs of 2011: Sullivan
With corporations taking public hits and with so many bad headlines crossing daily it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of chief executives keeping their heads down, growing companies and creating value for employees and shareholders.
Some, though, are doing it better than others, and so my Street Signs colleagues and I thought it would be fun to figure out who the best of the best in the c-suite were this year.
Thus, we created the first annual Street Signs ‘2011 Best CEO’ list (which is now being referred to on our team as the less-official sounding “Berbie” awards).
Four criteria were used to find the winners:
- Stock Performance: Shares must be up for the year and outpacing the broader market and most competitors
- Operational Performance: The CEOs must keep a clean balance sheet, with low debt levels, solid operating margins and growth in most financial metrics.
- Strategic Vision: Leaders were vetted for how well they saw and executed on the big picture, made smart deals and managed through a still difficult U.S. economy.
- Miscellaneous: The important intangibles such as time at the company, job creation, compensation, analyst commentary, thoughts from viewers and employees, etc.
We kept tightening the criteria on the first two screens until we were left with only about fifteen companies. A few of us then huddled up and hunkered down, using the final two criteria to narrow the list down to five and rank them.
To be fair, there are probably some names who deserved to be on our list, and some on this list who readers think do not deserve to be on it. And this list reflects mostly what these executives and their companies have done this year. To quote the standard investment disclaimer: "past performance is no guarantee of future results."
So that aside and without further ado, here’s my 1st Annual Best CEOs of 2011 list:
Number 5: Greg Henslee, O’Reilly Automotive.