CEO 19

(Razvan Chisu, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content

What does it take to be a stellar chief executive?

Well, according to new research from Glassdoor, the best CEOs are those who surround themselves with a strong senior leadership team. Across five different countries examined, the biggest predictor of a high CEO approval rating was the strength of the rest of the management team.

Image: Glassdoor

Culture matters

A company’s culture, values and its business outlook were also highly prized by respondents when ranking their CEOs. And, predictably, employees tend to rate the big boss more highly in companies with solid financials.


Work-life balance had the weakest correlation with CEO popularity in the US, UK, France, Germany and Canada. This correlates with earlier research by Glassdoor that showed workers are willing to trade a decent work-life balance to work for great CEOs.

Image: Glassdoor

Founding a company matters

There are, of course, many other factors that drive a CEO’s approval rating.

An earlier study by Glassdor, based on US companies, found the path CEOs take to reach their executive position can also be a major contributor to their success in the role. CEOs who have also founded their companies tend to be more popular and successful than those who joined from outside an organization, according to a range of research.

CEO pay, meanwhile, has a broadly negative correlation with favourable ratings: lower-paid CEOs are often higher rated by their employees, the Glassdoor report showed.

Among the best-rated CEOs on Glassdoor in 2019, as ranked by their employees, are Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Kevin Sneader of McKinsey & Co. and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn.