2014 CNBC Disruptor 50

CNBC Disruptors name the most dynamic CEOs

Executives who inspire disruptors

The most dynamic chief executives are more than just company figureheads. By their nature, they need to be intelligent, versatile leaders and strong decision-makers, according to some of the CEOs whose firms make up the CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

Some of the most dynamic CEOs are of a younger set, and they've taken their helms by storm.

Elon Musk at mission control SpaceX.
Source: SpaceX

Read MoreCNBC Disruptor 50: Tech companies that dominate

Ryan McInerney, the 38-year-old new president of Visa, fits that profile, according to Keith Krach, CEO of Docusign.

"He is really turning that place upside down and really creating a great vision and definitely empowering his team," Krach said.

At 42, Elon Musk is another relatively young executive and serial entrepreneur who inspires other executives.

"He did very well with PayPal and then sort of re-roled with both Tesla and SpaceX ... just a testament to his entrepreneurship. But the willingness to invest in the hardware is something that we see a shortage of in the entrepreneurial community. It takes a lot of guts, and I can respect that," said Nathan Kundtz, CEO of satellite antenna maker Kymeta.

Read MoreIs this the world's most important car company?

But executives don't need to be young to spearhead growth and change, according to Hardeep Walia, CEO and founder of Motif Investing and former Microsoft executive.

"I'm somewhat biased, but I think Satya Nadella is doing a terrific job of turning something around, which is always harder than driving something that's already doing well. So I think he's definitely someone I respect, and I happen to know," Walia said.

Read MoreAnalyst details his rare Microsoft upgrade

"I've been really, really amazed by Jeff Bezos at Amazon," said Moderna Therapeutics CEO Stephane Bancel, a sentiment echoed by Ted Bailey, CEO of Dataminr, a company that uses algorithms to classify real-time data from Twitter streams.

"Because if you look at where they came from, selling books online, to where they are now, in terms of just launching the phone, having the Kindle as a reading device, the Amazon Cloud, and they are building more and more verticals, this is for me a true example of thinking big, being very long-term, and just making it happen," Bancel said.

And one social network executive's name came up in interviews on the most dynamic executives in business today, but it wasn't Mark Zuckerberg.

"Jeff Weiner at LinkedIn I think has done a superb job at truly building a great customer base and at being pretty conservative and methodical about earning trust from his customers, and that allows LinkedIn now to be more aggressive and releasing more features they probably could not have released if they had not spent that much time building trust and building their reputation," said Renaud Laplanche, CEO of Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lending site.

—By CNBC's Althea Chang