Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Greatest Business Leaders of the 20th Century are American?

Apparently 7000 executives surveyed by Harvard Business School's Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria for their book, In Their Time think that the top 50 greatest business leaders of the 20th century are American entrepreneurs who built their companies from scratch. The list doesn't have any surprises, with the founders of some of the best known companies in the world there, including only one woman: Estee Lauder.

But what is saddening is that this is another example of people with blinders on - I know these companies have multi-billion dollar market capitalizations and probably have high brand recall among Americans, but there are no Asians on that list! So are these executives saying that Japan, Korea and India have no business leaders worthy of being on that list? Or are they just proving the alleged axiom that American people don't know anything of what's happening outside their own country?

I'm sure all these men are/were brilliant individuals and overcame huge struggles to achieve what they did. But I'm also sure there are others in the world who deserve to be on that list. I'd really like to know the survey methodology, because it's just unfair to call this the "Greatest Business Leaders of the 20th Century". It's like calling a sports event the "World Series" with only Americans playing.

This is the list:


  1. Samuel M. Walton | Wal-Mart
  2. Walter E. Disney | Walt Disney
  3. William H. Gates III | Microsoft
  4. Henry Ford | Ford Motor
  5. John P. Morgan | J.P. Morgan Chase
  6. Alfred P. Sloan Jr. | General Motors
  7. John F. Welch Jr. | General Electric
  8. Raymond A. Kroc | McDonald's
  9. William R. Hewlett | Hewlett-Packard
  10. David Packard | Hewlett-Packard
  11. Andrew S. Grove | Intel
  12. Milton S. Hershey | The Hershey Co.
  13. John D. Rockefeller Sr. | Standard Oil
  14. Thomas J. Watson Jr. | IBM
  15. Henry R. Luce | Time-Life Publications
  16. Will K. Kellogg | Kellogg
  17. Warren E. Buffett | Berkshire Hathaway
  18. Harland Sanders | Kentucky Fried Chicken
  19. William C. Procter | Procter & Gamble
  20. Thomas J. Watson Sr. | IBM
  21. Asa G. Candler | Coca-Cola
  22. Estee Lauder | Estee Lauder
  23. Henry J. Heinz H.J. | Heinz
  24. Daniel F. Gerber Jr. | Gerber Products
  25. James L. Kraft | Kraft Foods
  26. Steven P. Jobs | Apple Computer
  27. John T. Dorrance | Campbell Soup
  28. Leon L. Bean | LL Bean
  29. William Levitt | Levitt & Sons
  30. Howard Schultz | Starbucks
  31. Michael Dell | Dell Computer
  32. Robert W. Johnson Jr. | Johnson & Johnson
  33. James E. Casey | United Parcel Service
  34. Herbert D. Kelleher | Southwest Airlines
  35. George Eastman | Eastman Kodak
  36. Philip H. Knight | Nike
  37. James O. McKinsey | McKinsey & Co.
  38. Charles R. Schwab | Charles Schwab
  39. Frederick W. Smith | Federal Express
  40. William Wrigley Jr. Wm. | Wrigley Jr. Co.
  41. Gordon E. Moore | Intel
  42. Robert (Ted) E. Turner | Turner Broadcasting
  43. J. Willard Marriott Jr. | Marriott Int'l.
  44. James E. Burke J | ohnson & Johnson
  45. David Sarnoff | RCA
  46. William E. | Boeing Boeing
  47. Walter A. Haas Sr. | Levi Strauss
  48. Henry J. Kaiser | Kaiser Industries
  49. Walter A. Haas Jr. | Levi Strauss
  50. Clarence Birdseye | Bird's Eye Foods

3 comments:

quotidian said...

Yeah, they probably surveyed 7,000 CEOs here in the U.S.

Just you wait, in a hundred years, most of these leaders will come from China and India! :)

Praveshin said...

A very interesting list of names, I have heard of most of them and I am in South Africa

rtotla said...

I believe the greatest lenders are Japanese with more than trillion dollars in US market.

RTotla
http://rtotla.blogspot.com/