First off… I apologise for being remiss in updating my blog. It’s been really, really crazy with work and such offline that I’ve really had not much time to update this blog.
Nevertheless, I’m back!
And to kick things off, I’d like to share with you this list of 10 business leaders that are hailed as “heroes we can still look up to”. I think it’s very encouraging to note that there are still inspirational leaders out there who, as the article states, aren’t those that reveal themselves later to be really corrupt or irresponsible creeps underneath it all. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air to see that the world of business isn’t just exclusively made up of greed and dirty tricks.
In fact, I have to say that I count myself lucky to have worked for very capable and inspirational leaders throughout my career. Having had the privilege of working with such luminaries have certainly helped me achieve all that I have so far…
The full listing of the 10 Business Heroes are:
- Ann Livermore: As executive VP of the HP Enterprise Business, Ann Livermore has helped earn the company its $54 billion annually, which it rolls in from all over the world. But besides her impressive business savvy, Livermore is completely loyal, too. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics from her native North Carolina’s UNC-Chapel Hill, Livermore earned her MBA from Stanford, and then immediately began working for HP, in 1982. That means she’s got a nearly 30-year rap with the same company, and has worked in and managed nearly every department, including sales, marketing, research and development and business management. She became a corporate vice president in 1995, elected to the board of directors of the UPS in 1997, and nearly became CEO of HP in 1999. She earned over $20 million in 2008.
- Steve Jobs: Steve Jobs is known as one of the most humble and classy guys in tech and business, and his personal story is well-known. Given up for adoption as a baby, Jobs was raised in California briefly attended Reed College before dropping out. He didn’t leave school because he was lazy or unambitious, just unsure about what he wanted to do, and Jobs kept auditing classes while experimenting with Buddhism and LSD. He entered into the tech business in the early 1970s, and hooked up with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne to found Apple in 1976. Since then, the company is one of the most recognized companies in the world, and one of the most successful and wide-reaching in tech and business. Jobs owns millions of shares in Apple and Disney, and while he is known as a demanding boss, he dresses simply, speaks with an even, humble tone (at least in public), and has won many awards, including the National Medial of Technology, CEO of the Decade, and others.
- Indra K. Nooyi: Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra K. Nooyi has been recognized for being one of the most powerful women in the world, and of course, business. She oversees products that garner over $1 billion in annual sales, and has been CEO since 2006; Chairman since 2007. Born in Chennai, India, Nooyi graduated from Madras Christian College and from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta in 1976, after which she worked in management for Johnson & Johnson. Nooyi then moved to the U.S. to complete another master’s degree from Yale, and after working in the Northeast for a few years, moved to the PepsiCo company in 1994. Since then, she has worked in finance, mergers and acquisitions and other departments, and was named CFO in 2001. She was awarded with the Barnard Medal of Honor after giving the Barnard College commencement address in 2009, and has been named the number one most powerful women in business by Forbes magazine, from 2006-2009.
- Bill Gates: Bill Gates has long been known as one of the richest men in the world, but he’s also a major philanthropist. After founding Microsoft in the 1970s (Gates also dropped out of college), he consistently invented and developed new computers, software programs and technology that revolutionized the entire world and the way it communicates, conducts business, and even manages itself. Gates and his wife now concentrate much of their time on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to improve the health of people in developing countries and also help Americans rise from poverty and gain access to their most basic needs and rights, including education. The foundation has an asset trust endowment of $33 billion, and Gates gives away much of his own millions to that and other nonprofit groups. Named one of Time‘s most influential people of the 20th century, Gates has also received prestigious honors and awards from Harvard University, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Forbes, Cambridge University, and Queen Elizabeth II.
- Irene Rosenfeld: Rosenfeld serves as the Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, and has been CEO since 2006. Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Rosenfeld has a BA in Psychology, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in Marketing and Statistics from from Cornell, and her first job was at an ad agency in New York City. She joined Kraft in the 1990s but briefly left to take on management and CEO positions at Frito-Lay North America, before returning to Kraft again in the mid-late 2000s. She has served on the board at Frito-Lay, Kraft and AutoNation, and has been recognized by Forbes as one of the world’s most powerful women.
- Li Ka-shing: Hong Kong-based businessman Li Ka-shing has an estimated wealth of $16.2 billion (as reported in February of 2009). Named Asia’s Most Powerful Man and indirect controller of perhaps 15% of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Ka-shing is sometimes known as Superman out East. Born in China but forced to flee to Hong Kong as a child, Ka-shing’s family lived with a wealthy relative who supposedly inspired Ka-shing to succeed in business. He started his first company in 1950, earned a spot on the HKSE in 1972, founded Shantou University in 1981, and continues to grow his global companies, Cheung Kong (Holdings) Limited and Hutchison Whampoa Limited, today. Also known as a significant philanthropist, Ka-shing dresses relatively simply and has donated over $1 billion to charities, though he recently pledged to donate more.
- John Bond: Probably best known as the Chairman of HSBC Holdings, Sir John Bond left the company in 2006 and now serves as Chairman of Vodafone. But before becoming one of the most well-respected and more admired businessmen in the world, Bond started at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation as a 19-year-old fresh off of the boat on which he worked as a deck hand and which was his ticket to Hong Kong from California. Bond started traveling around the Middle and Far East on behalf of the company, but quickly moved up. He headed U.S. operations in the 80s, and then took over as Group Chairman in 1998. Titles aside, Bond’s biggest accomplishments lie in his ability to turn a “local” bank into an international powerhouse banking organization. Nicknamed the “chairman of the world’s local bank,” business professionals still wonder at his global approach, and Bond was also instrumental in bringing corporate social responsibility and environmental responsibility standards to HSBC.
- Norio Ohga: If you’ve doubted Sony’s sound systems before, you might not after hearing about Norio Ohga’s back story. Ohga, the now retired Chairman of the Board and former CEO of Sony, was actually a trained opera singer from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and Berlin University of the Arts, who was dissatisfied with Sony’s sound quality. He wrote a letter to the company criticizing its products, was offered a job, and and within five years became Director of the Product Planning Division in 1964. By 1970, Ohga was President and Representative Director of CBS/Sony Records.
- Paul Allen: If you think Paul Allen is just another Microsoft guy, you’re grossly mistaken. Although he did co-found the company with Bill Gates, today Allen is also the founder and chairman of Vulcan, Inc., has a multi-billion dollar investment portfolio, and owns the Portland Trail Blazers, Seattle Seahawks, and the MLS team, the Seattle Sounders FC. Considered one of the richest and most successful people in the world, Allen has honorary degrees, a lifetime giving award (he’s donated almost $1 billion), and has founded The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. He supports many Washington-state and Pacific Northwest nonprofit groups and causes, as well as health sciences programs that use technology for research and finding cures. In July of 2010, he announced that he would be giving away more than half of his fortune — the total of which is estimated at $13.5 billion — to philanthropic causes.
- Guy Kawasaki: Former Macintosh marketing genius and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Guy Kawasaki has broken out on his own and is one of the most popular tech guys on Twitter. He has published nine books (so far), and is known for his open, friendly conversation style online. The Stanford and UCLA alumnus’ websites and companies include Garage Technology Ventures, Alltop and the “How to Change the World” blog, and while he’s still young, his attitude about business is just as fresh and optimistic. Business students can find inspiration in his ability to reinvent himself, conquer new branches of technology and business, and positive outlook. He’s said that your goal in life shouldn’t be to become a legend, but to help change the world.