General Electric, CEO since ’01
Why: Building an even stronger giant than the one he inherited.
Jeff Immelt has accomplished much since succeeding Jack
Welch six years ago. GE’s earnings have nearly doubled, to $21
billion, while Immelt has engineered an overhaul, buying high-re-
turn businesses in areas like health-care and shedding low-return
reinsurance and life insurance units. GE is now heavily invested in
aircraft engines and power generation,
as well as water, wind and other envi-
ronmentally promising products.
Immelt’s GE is stronger than
Welch’s GE. The business mix is better,
earnings quality is higher, and double-
digit annual profit growth is more
But Immelt’s GE share performance can’t match Welch’s. At
around 35, the stock is about where it stood when he took over. Part of that reflects the
stock’s hefty price-earnings ratio in 2001. Before too long, Immelt’s accomplishments ought
to start getting more recognition on Wall Street.
Lehman Brothers, CEO since ’94
Why: Turning a bond shop into an elite investment bank
Meet Mr. Wall Street. A Lehman Brothers lifer who joined the
firm in 1969, Fuld brings passion and competitiveness that
are powerful even by Street standards.
Thank Fuld for saving Lehman, which nearly lost its storied iden-
tity as part of American Express in the
late 1980s and early 1990s. Since its
spinoff in 1994, Fuld has made the
bond specialist into a rival to Goldman
Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
A tough former trader Fuld, 60, has
developed the polish to woo corporate
clients. Last year, Lehman was the ad-
viser to AT&T on its $86 billion purchase of BellSouth, one of larg-
est takeovers ever.
Lehman’s stock is up 20-fold since ’94. That’s good news for employees, who own 30% of
the company. And here’s some even better news: Fuld has no plans to retire.
Royal Bank of Scotland, CEO since ’00
Why: Adding a touch of tartan to the color of global money
After raising dividends by 15% or more for 14 straight years, what