Who Are Europe's Best Executives?

Jurgen Hambrecht, the CEO of German chemical company BASF, was voted the top CEO in his sector by both buy-side and sell-side analysts, while Deutsche Bank's CEO Josef Ackerman and Banco Santander's Alfredo Saenz Abad split the honors in the financial services sector, according to a survey by Institutional Investor.

Dutch semiconductor technology company ASML Holdingkept its top position in the annual list of Most Honored Companies, while two Swiss companies, biotechnology company Actelion and cement maker Holcim, jumped ahead to tie for the second place.

The magazine's survey reflects opinions from more than 800 investment professionals at 435 buy-side firms and more than 1,200 sell-side analysts from almost 150 institutions about the executive teams of European companies.

BASF's "responsiveness to investor and analyst requests; clarity of earnings releases .. (and) breadth of road show activities" are all positive factors, according to UBS chemicals analyst Thomas Gilbert.

Hambrecht, who plans to retire in May, told CNBC his acquisition strategy comes down to basic themes: helping the company grow above the industry average, innovation, value and adding to earnings.

As for future deals, "we have eaten a lot, we have to digest first, then you can start to look to additional acquisitions," he said.

For the first quarter and full-year earnings, Hambrecht said he is "really confident."

(Check out the full list of top CEO's by sector.)

Top Companies

The company rankings are compiled according to how many first-place positions companies have won in categories such as Best CEOs, Best CFOs and Best Investor Relations.

ASML Holding's team is "very focused on the long-term investor," Sandeep Deshpande, from JP Morgan Cazenove's team of analysts in the technology sector, told the magazine.

The effort of keeping analysts in the loop has contributed to ASML's management success, according to Institutional Investor.

"Management is extremely honest about how the end markets are doing, and thus investors are rarely taken by surprise by any financial announcement by the company," Deshpande told the magazine.

Actelion's executive team rose one place from the third it occupied in last year's rankings, while Holcim's jumped from No. 8.

The executive team of French luxury goods maker LVMH fell one place to fourth.

ASML Holding won a total of eight first places, while Actelion and Holcim won seven each. LVMH won six.