Glassdoor survey: Employees give top rating to VMware's CEO, but Zuckerberg plunges

Tech company CEOs were the most popular among employees, and they dominated the annual Top 100 CEO list, but not everyone did well, with many large tech companies failing to make the list.
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

High praise from employees pushed VMWare's Pat Gelsinger to No. 1 top CEO for 2019 from No. 78 last year, while Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg plummeted to No. 55 from No. 16 a year ago, and Google's Sundar Pichai moved up just one spot to rank No. 46.

The annual ranking of the top 100 CEOs of the largest US companies is prepared by Glassdoor, which hosts reviews of companies and their management by employees. Companies with a high CEO approval generally make more money than their peers and have lower staff turnover.

Adobe, Microsoft, and LinkedIn CEOs joined VMware in the 2019 top 10. Overall, the tech sector has the most employee-approved CEOs with 27 in the Top 100, followed by healthcare with 12 CEOs, and manufacturing with eight CEOs.

The San Francisco/Bay Area is home to 17 CEOs on the Top 100 List -- with nearly all in tech. New York City has 16 CEOs on the list -- none are in tech -- with mostly financial services and management consulting companies.

Zuckerberg held the No. 1 spot on the list in 2013 and maintained a top 10 rank until 2018, dropping to No. 16. His declining popularity with employees appear to mirror his handling of high-profile problems over privacy and targeted advertising.

A similar fall from grace has affected Google, which had the No. 1 CEO in 2015 with Larry Page but now sits at No. 46. Like Facebook, Google has come under considerable public criticism over the past few years.

Totally missing from all of the Glassdoor Top CEO lists since they started in 2013 is Amazon's Jeff Bezos. And Intel only made the list twice and has been missing since 2015.

Employees are a fickle bunch and just three CEOs have made the Top CEO list every year for the past seven years: Zuckerberg, Apple's Tim Cook, and Salesforce's Marc Benioff.

The glass ceiling still keeps women CEOs in the minority, with seven on the list this year, compared with eight in 2018. Only 5% of CEOs at S&P 500 companies are female. In-N-Out Burger's CEO Lynsi Snyder has consistently ranked high since 2016 and was No. 3 this year.

Glassdoor defines large companies as those with more than 1,000 employees. It uses a special algorithm that it says can detect any attempts to skew the results and it punishes companies caught trying to game its methodology.

The full CEO list for 2019 and an archive of prior years can be seen here: Top CEOs | Glassdoor

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