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The 20 best CEOs in Britain, as ranked by their staff

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce, makes the list. Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

Colleagues, daily duties, your office space — there are plenty of factors that can mean the difference between enjoying your job and hating it.

But something that can make the difference between enjoying it and loving it is an inspirational leader.

For millennial staff in particular, working for a company whose values and ideals they agree with is an increasingly important factor when choosing a job. A strong CEO who can communicate this is therefore important.

“Today’s job seekers are looking for leaders who share their values and will empower them to bring their full selves to work,” Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Glassdoor allows employees to anonymously review the companies they work for and their CEOs, as well as disclosing information like salary. It published its ranking of the best 50 CEOs in the UK as ranked by their staff on Wednesday.

The ranking is based on Glassdoor’s proprietary secret calculations but takes into account CEOs who have had at least 35 reviews from their staff in the last 12 months. The average CEO approval rating across the 900,000 companies on the site is 69% but all the top 20 get a rating of above 95%.

“More and more, we’re seeing top CEOs make decisions to shape the culture of their organisations to help recruit and retain quality talent, which has a direct correlation to fuelling business success,” Sutherland-Wong said.

Financial firms are well represented, with five of the top 10 involved in finance.

Crucially, the ratings tend to be about employee satisfaction with their leader — not necessarily their competence. Craig Donaldson, the CEO of Metro Bank, comes in at number three despite a disastrous six months that has seen the bank’s share price collapse over 70% due to a loan misclassification error. Niceness and leadership doesn’t always correlate with performance.

Without further ado, here are Glassdoor’s 20 best UK CEOs of 2019, as rated by staff:

  1. Peter Simpson, Anglian Water — Approval rating: 99%

  2. Andrew Haines, Network Rail — 98%

  3. Craig Donaldson, Metro Bank — 98%

  4. Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg — 98%

  5. Juergen Maier, Siemens — 97%

  6. Larry Fink, BlackRock — 97%

  7. James Gorman, Morgan Stanley — 97%

  8. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan — 97%

  9. Warren East, Rolls-Royce — 97%

  10. Ben van Beurden, Shell — 97%

  11. Toby Kelly, Trailfinders — 97%

  12. Gene Hall, Gartner — 97%

  13. Mark Evans, O2 — 96%

  14. David Wadhwani, AppDynamics — 96%

  15. David Dyson, Three — 96%

  16. Pete Redfern, Taylor Wimpey — 96%

  17. Simon Williams, NTT DATA — 96%

  18. Bill McDermott, SAP — 96%

  19. Phil Loney, Royal London — 96%

  20. James Reed, REED — 95%