CEOs reach the top in their field not necessarily by following in the steps of their predecessors.
In fact, breaking rules has become common. Consider the following five examples!
1. Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has had a long and strenuous journey with his company.
Everything from hate speech to vaccine misinformation, Facebook has had it all. The inappropriate content has left a sour taste in the world’s perspective of Facebook.
Zuckerberg has usually relied on downplaying the rightfully earned criticism and instead, shifts to what future Facebook holds.
Zuckerberg himself has a good number of researchers and advisors to navigate these problems, especially with rebranding Facebook as the Meta platform. He even has his own Safety Advisory Board which has told him to completely change the Meta platform to have a focus on safety and engage in regulations.
Even his investors have been curious about this, but so far, much of this has been disregarded by Zuckerberg. Time will tell how Meta Platforms handles the 2020s and beyond.
2. Albert Bourla
The CEO of Pfizer, Bourla has focused for years on combating the coronavirus. He believes that with the advances they have made to combat the pandemic, they can use that knowledge to combat other plagues that threaten our world.
Concerned over limited infrastructure and resources in poor countries, Bourla wants solutions with the assistance of the World Health Organization and world governments to tackle these issues.
He also plans on finding a solution to the medical professional shortage as well as vaccine hesitancy. Bourla claims that lack of resources, limited campaigning, and even the roads have stood in the way. He seeks creative thinking and teamwork to navigate the world out of this difficult time.
3. Brian Chesky
Brian Chesky is the CEO of Airbnb.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, Chesky was criticized for laying off up to a quarter of his employees because of the coronavirus. However, he was praised for how he helped his employees by giving them 14 weeks of severance plus additional coverage for health and mental support.
Airbnb also helped the terminated employees with finding employment, even with the competition.
Chesky says that the flexibility of work and travel will give the company a boost and has had employees travel and work at the same time. He has also joined in and has been living in Airbnbs for weeks. Hopefully, this move will completely revolutionize the work schedule.
4. Dr. Lisa Su
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) was on the verge of bankruptcy at the end of 2014, right around the time Dr. Lisa Su became CEO.
Now, eight years later, their share price is nearly 35 times more than where it was in 2014. She has a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. What she did was focus on what they do. At the time, they built central processing units (CPUs), period.
Su branched the company out by also making chips for gaming consoles as well as data centers and does not have AMD focus on chips for phones and tablets. Recently, Su completed the company’s first acquisition by spending $50 billion for Xilinx, a fellow competitor. AMD will also increase its market to $110 billion.
5. Eric Yuan
Founder and CEO of Zoom Video Communications, Eric Yuan just made his company public in 2019. Then, less than a year later, a certain pandemic made Zoom into the premiere place to chat with friends and family. It enabled many to work from home for work and school or even attend a wedding.
In March 2020, Zoom hosted over 200 million meetings a day, far from the mere 10 million they had in late 2019.
Thankfully, Yuan has had this idea since the 1990s to “make video communications frictionless” when he was a college student and his girlfriend lived over 10 hours away from him. What made Zoom work so well was that Zoom was based on the cloud. This made it easier for people who live with weak internet connections.
Yuan fixed security flaws after there was attention to security and privacy issues by halting the production of new features. Based on employee feedback, he was rated 98/100, Comparably’s 2021 Award for Best CEO of Diversity.
His concern for his clients and employees earns him very high marks. As a result, it will likely propel him to new heights in the future.
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