Cramer: 8 elite CEOs in ready to win 2016

With March Madness in full swing, the initial field of 68 teams is due to be whittled down to just the elite eight teams. So, with bracketology in mind, Jim Cramer decided to review his selection of the first four of eight CEOs that have put their companies in the best position to win right now.

The first of the "Mad Money" elite eight is the CEO of Honeywell, Dave Cote. He took over the industrial and aerospace conglomerate in July 2002. Since that time, the stock has more than doubled in performance.

While Cramer found the outperformance of the stock certainly impressive, what he liked the best was Cote's ability to reposition the company with savvy break-ups, acquisitions and redirection to more lucrative end markets. This has allowed the company to stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment that has gotten the best of some of their competitors.

"Honestly, I think Dave Cote is the example that all industrial CEOs should aspire towards," the "Mad Money" host said.

Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella speaks at a shareholders' meeting in Bellevue, Washington.
Jason Redmond | Reuters
Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella speaks at a shareholders' meeting in Bellevue, Washington.

The next CEO on the list was Steve Easterbrook, who took over as McDonald's CEO a little over a year ago. He might be a rookie, but for Cramer, anyone who owns shares of McDonald's knows he deserved the accolades.

When Easterbrook first took over, the company was stagnated, and the stock was stuck trading between $85 and $110 for the previous four years. Since Easterbook came in on March 1, 2015, the stock has rallied 25 percent, which has crushed the S&P 500.

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The next was a seasoned veteran CEO, General Electric's Jeff Immelt. He took over back in 2001, and while the stock lagged the S&P over that period, Cramer attributed this largely to the beating the share price took during the financial crisis.

Immelt was able to steer GE through multiple crises during his tenure. He took over less than a week before Sept. 11, 2001, and navigated the company through the ensuing financial crisis.

"But Immelt is not just a crisis manager. Since the Great Recession, Jeff Immelt has transformed General Electric," Cramer said.

The fourth member of the elite eight was Microsoft's Satya Nadella, who took over the ailing company in February 2014 and has turned it around. The stock is up 49 percent since then, crushing the 17 percent gain of the S&P 500 during that time.

In a very short time, Cramer was impressed with how Nadella turned Microsoft from a struggling old tech titan into a company that's all about the cloud. At the same time, he launched Windows 10 and has steered the company to be incredibly shareholder friendly.

"Just like in the NCAA where it takes a great coach to get your team into the elite eight, many public companies have truly phenomenal chief executives," Cramer said.

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