These Are the Top 10 U.S. CEOs of 2021, According to Glassdoor

Bridget Bennett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

During a year stricken by the coronavirus pandemic, CEOs across the country faced unprecedented challenges, and despite uncertainty some rose to the occasion, pivoting their work environments to better serve employees. 

Glassdoor created its list of the 100 highest-rated CEOs from employee reviews between May 2, 2020, and May 1, 2021. According to reviews, employees felt that the highest-ranked CEOs adapted to change, redefined visions and led with transparency, all while being dedicated to the health and safety of employees.

These factors propelled CEO Rich Lesser of Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, to claim the #1 spot for the first time, reaching a 99% approval rating. Employee reviews share that constructive feedback, a collaborative work environment and mobility benefits were factors that affected how employees viewed the company.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen claimed the second spot with an approval rating of 98%. Following a year where thousands of Adobe employees shifted to digital workspaces, the software company not only made above revenue estimates, but resonated closely with employees as well. Employees on the platform felt that there was a good work-life balance and health-care benefits.

Across multiple industries, leaders in tech, finance and manufacturing top the list with the most winners. Check out the top 10 CEOs in 2021, according to Glassdoor reviews:

10. Horacio D. Rozanski, Booz Allen Hamilton

9. Paul Cormier, Red Hat

8. Ed Bastian, Delta Air Lines

7. Charles C. Butt, H.E.B.

6. Satya Nadella, Microsoft

5. Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Visa Inc.

4. Gary C. Kelly, Southwest Airlines

3. Peter Pisters, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe Systems
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer of Adobe Systems

2. Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

1. Rich Lesser, Boston Consulting Group

Employee reviews on the job-search site take into account various types of employment status, including full-time, part-time, contract and freelance positions. Glassdoor's proprietary algorithm considers quantity, quality and consistency of Glassdoor-approved company reviews in order for CEOs at small, medium and large companies to make the list.

This means that in order for a leader of a large company, one with more than 1,000 employees, to be considered, that CEO must receive at least 100 company reviews across CEO approval ratings and senior management ratings. For CEOs of small and medium-sized companies, those with less than 1,000 employees, making the list requires at least 35 company reviews across CEO approval ratings and senior management ratings during the year.

Intentionality, consistency, empathetic leadership while upholding a company's mission and culture are among some of the additional qualities and themes that drove better employee reviews about CEOs.

Of the newly released 100-person list, 56 newcomers joined the ranks. Calvin McDonald from Lululemon claimed the 19th spot, with a 96% rating, while Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield reached the 82nd spot, with a 92% approval rating. 

Though some industries exceeded expectations and others made first-time appearances, some high-profile CEOs failed to make the cut. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg did not make the list at all for the first time since 2013. 

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