Eight Degrees of Excellence

Article excerpt

Our next issue will feature CE's 1996 Chief Executive Of The Year. It will be the 11th anniversary of this award, which is unique in that the selection process is completely peerdriven. Each year, we ask our CEO readers to nominate candidates who have excelled when measured against various criteria. Those most often nominated are reviewed by a panel of distinguished current and former CEOs. Ultimately, the panel selects one honoree.

Identifying a connecting thread among this year's finalists is not easy. Their industries range from computers and chemicals to big manufacturing and bigname brands. But among the personalities themselves there is a commonality of challenge. AlliedSignal's Larry Bossidy; Caterpillar's Don Fites; IBM's Lou Gerstner are credited with invigorating major businesses that had lost their way or encountered market turbulence. Many readers praised Bossidy's team-based approach, saying he "recalibrated the organization around excellence." Fites is legendary for facing down his company's major threats to its continued existence-not just its striking workers, but Cat's ability to be the best cost producer in heavy equipment worldwide. Eastman Chemical's Earnie Deavenport has created a high performance since Eastman's spin-off from Kodak nearly three years ago. Intel's Andy Grove and Compaq's Eckhard Pfeiffer are seen by their peers as aggressive technology entrepreneurs who are creating the technology platforms for the next century. Pfeiffer enabled Compaq to become the country's largest producer of PCs. Grove is seen as a "farsighted" and "innovative" CEO who has created, along with Bill Gates, a virtual monopoly in desktop computing. …