These are the best CEOs of large companies in 2020, according to their employees

Comparably’s data shows these leaders got consistently high marks for their performance during one of the most challenging years for businesses.

These are the best CEOs of large companies in 2020, according to their employees
[Photo: CHUTTERSNAP/Unsplash]

This year was hard on everyone, and CEOs tasked with leading companies through the endless challenges and chaos of 2020 were no exception.


Amid layoffs and furloughs, pivots, and abrupt adaptions to remote work, some leaders rose to the occasion and guided their workforces with a steady hand. According to Comparably’s analysis of over 10 million anonymous ratings from December 1, 2019-December 1, 2020, 50 CEOs rated the highest among those at organizations with more than 500 employees. And in the top 10:

  1. Eric Yuan of Zoom Video Communications
  2. Brian Halligan of HubSpot
  3. Sundar Pichai of Google
  4. Satya Nadella of Microsoft
  5. Shantanu Narayen of Adobe
  6. Ryan Smith of Qualtrics
  7. Patrick Pacious of Choice Hotels
  8. Timothy Cook of Apple
  9. Annette Brüls of Medela
  10. Vlad Shmunis of RingCentral

Comparably ranked the CEOs according to how high they each scored on a series of questions including:

  • Do you approve of your CEO?
  • How would you rate your CEO?
  • Do you approve of your CEO’s management style?
  • How would you rate the effectiveness of your CEO to drive business results?

The average approval rating for top ranked CEOs is 89%, versus around 70% for the average chief executive rating site-wide. It’s not really surprising that Zoom CEO Eric Yuan came out on top. After all, the video service stepped up to connect millions and made the company name common parlance in the vein of Kleenex or Xerox, seemingly overnight. However, it’s worth pointing out that Yuan topped the list last year too.


It’s also not surprising that Google’s Sundar Pichai ranked No. 3. Although his recent company memo, which he sent after AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru was fired in early December, drew criticism from the ousted employee and many others, Comparably’s ratings take into account a full year of sentiment analysis and were completed this year before the incident.

The full list of 50 CEOs, and a list of the top CEOs of small to medium companies, can be found here.


About the author

Lydia Dishman is a staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. She has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.