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June - July 2007

Business Forum

The World’s 30 best CEOs

Two Indian steel tycoons -- Ratan Tata of Tata Group and NRI Lakshmi Mittal of global powerhouse Mittal Steel, have made it to the world's best CEOs list compiled by US stock market weekly Barron's.

As per the magazine, Tata and Mittal are among the 30 top corporate leaders from around the world who have top-notch reputations in the financial community and who would be missed by investors if they unexpectedly left their jobs.

"Many chief executives are critical to their organisations. But a much smaller number really matter on Wall Street," the magazine said after assembling its third annual list of 30 top corporate leaders. The two Indians are the only CEOs from the steel sector to find places on the list. The weekly said that one should read the story of Lakshmi Mittal to know how India became a leading incubator of multinationals.

The World's 30 Best CEOs

(Names in alphabetical order)

1. Warren Buffet - Berkshire Hathaway

2. Kenneth Chenault - American Express

3. George David - United Technologies

4. Charlie Ergen - EchoStar

5. Larry Fink - BlackRock

6. Lew Frankfort - Coach

7. Richard Fuld - Lehman Brothers

8. Fred Goodwin - Royal Bank of Scotland

9. Jeffrey Immelt - General Electric

10. Satoru Iwata - Nintendo

11. Steven Jobs - Apple

12. Henning Kagermann - SAP

13. Richard Kovacevich - Wells Fargo

14. A G Lafley - Procter & Gamble

15. Terry Leahy - Tesco

16. John Mackey - Whole Foods

17. Lakshmi Mittal - Arcelor Mittal

18. Allan Moss - Macquaire Bank

19. Angelo Mozilo - Countrywide Financial

20. Rupert Murdoch - News Corp

21. Michael O'Leary - Ryanair Holdings

22. Franck Ribould - Groupe Danone

23. Peter Rose - Expeditor International

24. Steven Roth - Vornado Realty

25. James Schiro - Zurich Financial

26. Bob Simpson - XTO Energy

27. James Sinegal - Costco Wholesale

28. Fred Smith - FedEx

29. Ratan Tata - Tata Group

30. Jong-Yong Yun - Samsung Electronics

The 56-year-old tycoon took over Arcelor last year for $35.8 billion creating the world's largest steel company and further expanding an empire he started in the 1970s and is now investing in Indian refineries and scouting for energy assets overseas.

While Mittal has retained his position on the list, Tata has made it into this exclusive club for the first time along with three other new entrants - James Schiro of Zurich Financial, Franck Riboud of Groupe Danone and Satoru Iwata of Nintendo. The Tata Group chairman, also finds place among the ten overseas CEOs on the list. According to the weekly, Mittal owns his place for "forging a global steel empire," while Tata has reached here "riding the elephant" (the Tata empire).   

Tata has been termed as the "face of India Inc", who oversees an empire including everything from tea to IT. As chairman of Tata Steel, he recently drove the firm's $12 billion acquisition of Anglo-Dutch Corus Group, four times its size, creating the world's fifth largest steelmaker.

"Not only content to operate in India, he is challenging managers to expand overseas," Barron's said. The list, published in Barron's March 26th edition, is based on financial and stock market performance and assessed intangible factors like leadership and industry stature.

The list includes many who founded their company - such as Rupert Murdoch of News Corp, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway, James Sinegal of Costco Wholesale, Fred Smith of FedEx and Charle Ergen of Echostar Communications - or have been at the helm for a decade or more.

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