At LinkedIn, CEO Jeff Weiner holds a biweekly all-hands meeting where 5,000 employees from its 26 offices around the world beam into an hour-long session held in the professional social networking company’s Mountain View, CA office. Weiner, 44, discusses important developments, like its decision last year to buy news reading application Pulse for $90 million, and introduces new hires to colleagues. At one meeting last year he told employees that they would all be getting free iPads. Weiner’s inclusive, transparent style and his emphasis on collaboration, have won him the top rating in jobs website Glassdoor’s new list of America’s 50 highest-rated CEOs in America. A startling 100% of LinkedIn employees who filled out Glassdoor’s company review surveys said that they approved of the way Weiner is leading the 11-year-old company.
This is the fifth year that Glassdoor has released a CEO ranking and the first year that Weiner has been on the list. His absence in previous years doesn’t suggest that his employees used to dislike him. Rather, explains Glassdoor spokesman Scott Dobroski, Weiner just hadn’t gotten enough reviews to qualify. To be considered, a company must have a workforce of more than 1,000 and at least 100 current and former employees need to have filled out surveys between February 1, 2013,and January 31, 2014. A total of more than 200 companies qualified for consideration this year.
Six-year-old Glassdoor, based in Sausalito, CA, has pioneered a unique model among jobs websites. Its content, which includes employment listings, salary information and TripAdvisor-like company reviews, is free to users for the first 30 days. Then if they want continued access, they have to provide a photo of their workplace, fill out a salary report , or do a company review with some 20 questions, including “Do you approve of the way your CEO is leading the company?” Among the 300,000 company reviews Glassdoor has on file, the average CEO rating is 69%. (Glassdoor calculates ratings to a tenth of a point, which is why a number of companies appear to be tied on this year’s list.)
Last year the top-rated CEO was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who had a 99% approval rating. This year he fell to ninth place with an approval rating of 93%. Though that’s still quite high, and employees commented that they continued to appreciate his accessibility, Dobroski says that they also talked about a more bureaucratic atmosphere at the company and the influx of a layer of young managers. Facebook’s workforce grew from 4,600 at the end of 2012 to 6,300 in December 2013.
The No. 2 and No. 3 CEOs this year were also absent in 2013 because they didn’t get enough reviews. Ford’s Alan R. Mulally takes the No. 2 slot, with employees using words like “unique” and “outstanding” to describe his leadership style. With 224,000 employees in 90 plants worldwide, Mulally can only put in face time with a fraction of the workforce but Dobroski says workers still see him as accessible through emails and company newsletters. They gave Mulally a 97% rating.
The No. 3 CEO this year: Richard Edelman, founder of the eponymous New York-based PR giant with 4,800 employees. Dobroski says employees reported that Edelman gives his people opportunities for growth and promotions and that he encourages curiosity, which translates to allowing employees to try out new departments or to transfer offices.
One significant gainer this year: Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, who jumped 29 spots to No. 7, even though the investment bank trimmed the share of its revenues that it sets aside for compensation, from $12.94 billion or 37.9% to $12.61 billion or 36.9%. Fourth quarter profits dropped 19% last year. But Blankfein has steered the firm through choppy waters, including criticism that the firm profited from the 2008 financial crisis and duped clients. It has also been one of the targets of an international investigation into improper manipulation of the foreign exchange market. Employees see Blankfein as a strong leader who runs a company full of talented, smart people. One comment from a financial associate in Salt Lake City who filled out a company review: “Opportunities for leadership. Strong management team. Great co-workers.”
In all, six CEOs of financial companies make the list including Richard Davis from U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis, at No. 11,with a 93% rating, Ned Johnson from Fidelity, at No. 14, also with a 93% rating, and Joe Robles Jr. at the United States Automobile Association in San Antonio, at No. 21 with a 91% rating.
There are only two women on the list, Sharen Turney from Victoria’s Secret, who is back for the second year in a row. She’s in 34th place with an 85% rating, up from 42nd place with an 83% rating last year. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer makes the list for the first time at No. 49, with a 79% rating. She hadn’t qualified before because not enough Yahoo employees had filled out surveys.
See our slideshow above for the top 20 people on the list. You can see the complete list of 50 top-ranked CEOs here.
This is the first year Glassdoor has also produced a list of the highest-rated CEOs from 25 companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. The top-ranked CEO on that roster, with a 100% rating: Robert Reid from Intacct, a San Jose company that makes financial management and accounting software.