Financial services giant Mastercard's CEO Ajay Banga is the sole Indian-origin top executive in a list of 100 best-performing CEOs in the world compiled by the prestigious magazine Harvard Business Review (HBR), with Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos topping the rankings.
The Harvard magazine's annual 'Best-Performing CEOs in the World' 2014 list comprises global chief executives who "actually delivered solid results over the long run."
India-born Banga is ranked 64th on the list, which specifically took into account the increase in total shareholder return and market capitalization in ranking the CEOs.
Under Banga, who was named Mastercard CEO in 2010, total shareholder return was 169 per cent while market capitalisation grew USD 66 billion.
The list includes Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers at the third spot, Yum Brands CEO David Novak (12), Netflix chief Reed Hastings (23), Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai (45), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (54), Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger (60), Adidas CEO Herbert Hainer (73) and Nike CEO Mark Parker (76).
However, the list of 100 lacks gender diversity as it consists of only two women, Debra Cafaro of IT firm Ventas (27) and Carol Meyrowitz of retalier TJX (51).
HBR focused mostly on long-term results and the performance of active CEOs over their entire stints.
Only those CEOs were included who have been in their jobs for at least two years.
The top CEOs have been effective with the first 50 having delivered total shareholder returns of 1,350 per cent during their time on the job. "...Being a good CEO is about far more than just investment performance. Leading a company and creating value depend on many skills that are hard to measure—strategic vision, authenticity, long-term planning. And investors certainly aren't the only stakeholders that need tending to; the best-run companies connect effectively with customers, employees, and the communities where they operate," HBR said.
Banga is among the 13 CEOs whose nationalities differ from their companies.
While the top 100 have each experienced their own unique journeys to success, ver a quarter of the CEOs have MBAs and nearly as many had studied engineering.
Twenty-four of HBR’s 100 best-performing CEOs have undergraduate or graduate degrees in engineering, compared with 29 who have MBAs. Eight CEOs have both degrees.
At technology or science-based companies, it’s not a big surprise to find an engineer at the helm but engineers thrive at the top of other kinds of firms too, HBR said.
On what makes an engineering degree useful to people leading a business, Harvard Business School's India-born dean Nitin Nohria said "studying engineering gives someone a practical, pragmatic orientation."
Nohria holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai.