Tech's Most Popular CEOs

by: Kevin Maney

Inside Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), CEO Michael Dell has a 66% approval rating -- higher than Steve Ballmer's approval rating (55%) inside of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). Inside the foundering Motorola (MOT), CEO Greg Brown has a pitiful 19% approval rating, while Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs has an unsurprising 91% approval rating from his employees.

Last week, I wrote about the debut of Glassdoor, a company-rating site from Rich Barton, who also founded Expedia and Zillow. The idea is to provide a TripAdvisor-like place for employees to rate their own companies and management, and open the results up to anyone. (The one catch -- you have to do a rating in order to see the other ratings.)

In its first five days, Glassdoor got 40,000 reviews on 9,800 companies around the world -- and that's with the site's editors rejecting one to two out of every 10 entries because, as a spokeswoman says, "the submissions violate community guidelines (naming names, completely one-sided, compromise member's anonymity, etc.) or are just plain bogus."

The companies with the most reviews so far tend to be tech companies, and of those with a significant number of reviews, you can learn some interesting things.

  • CEO approval ratings are sometimes surprising. At IBM (NYSE:IBM), Sam Palmisano has the company doing better than it has in years, yet his rating is 48% -- barely about the 46% rating that Yahoo (YHOO) employees give CEO Jerry Yang. At the high end, Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) John Chambers has an 85% approval rating, and Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) CEO Brad Smith gets a 96% rating. On the low end is Hector Ruiz at AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) at 11% and John Rittenmeyer at EDS (NASDAQ:EDS) at 16%.
  • Among tech companies with 40 or more reviews, the most satisfied employees work for VMware (NYSE:VMW), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Intuit and Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE). The least satisfied work for H-P (NYSE:HPQ) and AMD.
  • The most reviews so far from non-tech companies are, interestingly, all for consulting and financial services companies. And those employees tend to rate their CEOs pretty highty. Accenture's (NYSE:ACN) Bill Green gets a 67% rating; Deloitte's Jim Quigley gets 76%, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Sam DiPiazza gets 61%.

I think Glassdoor is going to be an interesting tool for looking into companies. And I haven't even dug into the written reviews yet!

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