The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of top US companies hold massive fascination. Not only are they among the most influential people in the country. They also have the power to inspire new entrepreneurs, set industry trends, and drive the development of groundbreaking products and technologies.
But not all CEOs are created equal.
Some of them keep up consistent top performances, while others flounder in their niches. As the news demonstrate almost daily, a CEO’s investment misstep or emphasis on the wrong departments can have significant negative impacts on the entire company.
That said, here are the top contenders in the field. The best CEOs of the US in 2023.
They were picked based on their companies’ performance over the last 12 months, their innovative potential, as well as their leadership skills as assessed by their teams.
* This list is not sponsored, and the people are listed in no particular order *
Yamini Rangan (HubSpot)
Heading this list is Yamini Rangan, CEO of HubSpot. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company is a major provider of software for inbound marketing, sales, as well as customer service.
Rangan was recently ranked as the best CEO of the past year by Comparably’s summary of anonymous employee feedback. Her team members especially valued Rangan’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as her dynamic leadership style.
After growing up in India, Rangan studied at the University of California, Berkeley. There, she earned three different degrees that qualified her perfectly for work in the tech sphere: a Bachelor’s in electronics engineering, a Master’s in computer engineering, and an MBA.
She has been at the helm of HubSpot since September 2021 and has spearheaded the company’s post-pandemic stabilization.
Sundar Pichai (Alphabet)
Next up is Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google as well as of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Since 2015, he’s been determining the fate of the search engine giant.
Like Rangan, Pichai grew up in India, then moved to the US to study. He earned degrees in materials science and engineering from Stanford and joined Google in 2004. Before becoming CEO, Pichai oversaw the development of some of Google’s flagship services, such as Google Drive, Gmail, and Chrome.
Carlos Rodriguez (ADP)
Third on this list is Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of Automatic Data Processing (ADP). Based in Roseland (NJ), this Fortune 500 company provides human resources management services and software.
Rodriguez holds a BA and an MBA from Harvard. He joined ADP in 1999 and became CEO in 2011. He successfully led the company through the Covid years and has managed to avoid the post-pandemic slump that hit the stock values of many big industry players. In fact, ADP hit its all-time stock value high as recently as November 2022.
Sarah Friar (Nextdoor)
Next on our list of the best CEOs of the US is Sara Friar. She heads Nextdoor, a hyperlocal social networking service. Nextdoor specializes in helping people create local networks to connect with their neighbors, businesses, and public services, and exchange information and useful tips.
Friar was born in the UK and attended the University of Oxford before moving on to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. She worked as an analyst at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs before taking over as CEO at Nextdoor.
She earned one of the top spots in Comparably’s recent CEO ranking.
Vladimir Shmunis (RingCentral)
Another top contender among the best CEOs of the US is Vladimir Shmunis. He heads RingCentral, one of the best-known providers of cloud-based communication services and business telephony.
Shmunis was born in Odesa, Ukraine, and attended the University of California, Berkeley, as well as San Francisco State University. He co-founded RingCentral back in 1999 and has overseen the company’s developments since then.
According to Comparably’s ranking, his team members value him for being a down-to-earth, approachable leader, and for his advocacy of diversity and equity.
Arvind Krishna (IBM)
Next up is Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, a company synonymous with hardware, AI, and cloud computing.
Krishna, like Rangan and Pichai, was born in India. He earned degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and the University of Illinois.
In 1990, while still studying for his PhD in electrical engineering, he joined IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Over the next three decades, he was instrumental in developing some of IBM’s core technologies. Among others, he drove the company’s expansion into artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing, and blockchain.
Krishna was appointed CEO at the beginning of 2020 and excelled at the tricky task of navigating the company through the pandemic.
According to Comparably’s latest rating, his team members value his leadership style for efficiency and transparent communications.
Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
One name that you won’t be surprised to see on this list of the best CEOs of the US is Warren Buffett. One of the most successful businessmen and investors in the world, he is currently CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational conglomerate holding company best known for its insurance portfolio.
At 92, Buffet has decades of business experience to draw on. Already launching several business ventures while still at school, Buffet made his name in the business sphere after graduating from Columbia Business School and the New York Institute of Finance in 1951.
Over the years he acquired stock in giants such as ABC, the Washington Post Company, and Coca-Cola. In 1965, he purchased the then-struggling Berkshire Hathaway and turned it into one of the world’s largest holdings.
Apart from being one of the top CEOs in the US, Buffett is also one of the richest. His net worth is estimated at over $100 billion.
Satya Nadella (Microsoft)
Another unsurprising entry on this list is Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Born in India, Nadella earned degrees from Manipal Institute of Technology as well as the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and the University of Chicago.
He joined Microsoft in 1992 and spearheaded the development of the company’s cloud computing infrastructure. In 2014, he succeeded Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates as Microsoft’s CEO.
Like other entries on this list, Nadella also occupies a top spot in Comparably’s ranking based on anonymous employee feedback. His team members value his thoughtful and enigmatic leadership style.
Dan Rosensweig (Chegg)
Another member of the exclusive circle of the top CEOs in the US is Dan Rosensweig. He is CEO of Chegg, a top provider of student services.
Rosensweig is another one of the highest-rated CEO’s on Comparably’s list, thanks to his down-to-earth leadership style and empathy.
After attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Rosensweig worked in various journalism and tech jobs before joining Yahoo back in 2002. In 2010, he joined Chegg and expanded the company from a textbook rental into service into a major player in the digital student services sphere – most recently by launching an AI student service project.
Shantanu Narayen (Adobe)
Rounding out this list of the best CEOs of the US is Shantanu Narayen, who has been heading SaaS giant Adobe since 2007.
Like several other people on this list, Narayen was born and raised in India before moving to the US to study at prestigious universities. Among other degrees, he holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.
He joined Adobe in 1998 and was in charge of worldwide product development before becoming CEO. Since then, he has masterminded the company’s metamorphosis into a cloud-based service provider. Today, software solutions such as Photoshop, Acrobat, and Premiere Pro are staples in the creative industry.
Do you think our ranking left someone out? Let us know in the comments!