Intentional, consistent and empathetic leadership during a global pandemic. An unwavering dedication to employees’ well-being while upholding the company’s mission and culture. Accessible, transparent and reliable. These are all qualities and themes that describe a top CEO and inspire employees to rate their CEOs highly over this past year.
There is no executive playbook for a pandemic. Yet, the winners of Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the Top CEOs in 2021 threw out the “business as usual” mindset and embraced the changes required to lead their employees through uncertainty. The exceptional leaders featured on this list are not only driving their companies forward with innovative strategy and execution, they are engaging and uplifting their employees during challenging times, clearly demonstrated by the reviews employees have left on Glassdoor.
This year, the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards for the Top CEOs feature six distinct company categories across the U.S., Canada, UK, France and Germany. In the U.S, Glassdoor has revealed the Top 100 CEOs (honoring CEOs at employers with 1,000 or more employees) and the Top 50 CEOs at small & medium companies (honoring CEOs at employers with fewer than 1,000 employees). Glassdoor’s Top 100 CEOs in 2021 award features winning chief executives across diverse industries spanning technology, health care, finance, manufacturing, retail and more.
“Over the past year, company leaders around the world faced unprecedented challenges to support employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, the employees have spoken and it’s clear that these CEOs excelled and found new ways to support their people when the world of work flipped upside down,” said Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor chief executive officer. “Through a challenging year, it’s inspiring to see Top CEOs who, according to their employees, adapted to change, redefined visions and led with transparency while putting the health and safety of employees first. I extend my sincerest congratulations to this year’s Employees’ Choice Award winners.”
This year, Boston Consulting Group’s innovative CEO Rich Lesser claims the top spot as a first time winner with a 99% approval rating. Lesser is no stranger to leading amid crisis, having led BCG through the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Great Recession. During COVID-19, according to employees on Glassdoor, BCG employees felt supported, trusted BCG’s leadership team to carry them through the pandemic and saw how Lesser and his team led the company as a “masterclass in best practices.” Lesser and his BCG leadership team also embody the company’s core values, which include integrity, diversity, social impact and more.
More than half (56 CEOs) of this year’s Top 100 CEOs, including Rich Lesser, are on the list for the first time. Other newcomers include lululemon’s Calvin McDonald (No. 19, 96 percent approval), SurveyMonkey’s Zander Lurie (No. 40, 94 percent approval) and Slack’s Stewart Butterfield (No. 82, 92 percent approval). Five women are honored among the top 100 this year, including In-N-Out Burger’s Lynsi Snyder (No. 20, 96 percent approval), Fidelity Investments’ Abby Johnson (No. 44, 94 percent approval) and Progressive Insurance’s Tricia Griffith (No. 65, 93 percent approval). Apple’s Tim Cook (No. 32, 95 percent approval) is the only CEO to be honored all eight years.
The ten Top CEOs in 2021 in the U.S. are:
1. Boston Consulting Group’s Rich Lesser (99 percent approval)
2. Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen (99 percent approval)
3. MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Peter Pisters (99 percent approval)
4. Southwest Airlines’ Gary C. Kelly (98 percent approval)
5. Visa Inc.’s Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. (97 percent approval)
6. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella (97 percent approval)
7. H E B’s Charles C. Butt (97 percent approval)
8. Delta Air Lines’ Ed Bastian (97 percent approval)
9. Red Hat’s Paul Cormier (97 percent approval)
10. Booz Allen Hamilton’s Horacio D. Rozanski (97 percent approval)
The five Top CEOs at Small & Medium Companies in 2021 in the U.S. are:
1. 6sense’s Jason Zintak (99 percent approval)
2. Logical Position’s Michael Weinhouse and John Ganey (99 percent approval)
3. Apeel Sciences’ James Rogers (99 percent approval)
4. Lower’s Dan Snyder (99 percent approval)
5. South Carolina Federal Credit Union’s Scott Woods (99 percent approval)
Congratulations to all of the CEOs honored, and thank you to the employees who shared their feedback on Glassdoor — it is due to both of you that organizations worldwide are becoming better, more transparent places to work.
Think your CEO deserves to make next year’s list? Share a review, and it will be considered for Glassdoor’s 2022 Employees’ Choice Awards.
Employers — wondering why your CEO didn’t make the list, and how you can become eligible for next year’s awards? Read here.
*Each list was compiled using Glassdoor’s proprietary algorithm, and each CEO approval rating determined based on the quantity, quality and consistency of reviews during the period of eligibility. For the full methodology, visit here.