The Harvard Business Review has named three Indian-origin CEOs in the top 10 of its 2019 list of the ‘Best-Performing CEOs in the World’, with Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen placed 6th, Mastercard’s Ajay Banga seventh and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella ninth. Topping the global 100 list was Nvidia’s Jensen Huang.
Since 2015, HBR has ranked global CEOs on parameters including financial performance and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings. Last year’s top performer was Pablo Isla of the Spanish retailer Inditex, but since he moved from CEO to chairman he wasn’t considered for the list this year, said HBR.
The aforementioned three aren’t the only Indian-origin CEO on the list of 100. Giving them company, albeit at a distance, was DBS Bank’s Piyush Gupta. Google’s Sundar Pichai, however, did not find a place in the list, as was the case last year.
Nationality-wise, however, the list was dominated by Americans, with 37 of the top 100 from the US. The top 10 had four non-American CEOs, however — Francois-Henri Pinault (France) of Kering in third, Ignacio Galan (Spain) of Iberdrola in fifth, Johan Thijs (Belgium) of KBC eighth and Bernard Arnaut (France) of LVMH 10th. Narayen, Banga and Nadella are US citizens, and Gupta is Singaporean.
The 2019 list is once again dominated by men, with only 4 women in the top 100, a marginal increase from last year’s 3. HBR said it is the “result not of the performance of female CEOs but of how few women serve in the role — a phenomenon we, too, find regrettable”.
Of the top 10 CEOs, 6 are from the tech industry; 17 in top 100. Add communication industry into the mix, it becomes 26 CEOs from tech-related industries in the top 100. Masayoshi Son of Softbank is ranked 96, a lowly rank for his stature. There were 4 CEOs from Greater China in the top 100 — Alfred Chan (28) of Hong Kong and China Gas, George Kwok Lung Hongchoy (50) of Link REIT, Ma Huateng (63) of Tencent, and Sheng Yue Gui (88) of Geely Automobile. Also, the good old real estate industry had 6 representatives.