One of my favorite things about football season is fantasy football. So recently I asked myself:
What if I could put together my own fantasy squad of my favorite CEOs? What would it look like?
Laugh if you will, but
Foolish investors know that leadership matters. A lot. A bad leader can be the difference between a successful company and one that never leaves the bench. But great leaders can do wonders, and these 10 are total Fools:
Quarterback: Jeff Bezos — Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)
Bezos is also the founder of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), and in my mind one of the greatest forward-thinkers and risk-takers in the world today. He’s not afraid to zag when others zig, and his focus on the long term has helped make Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) the formidable company we know today. Yet even Bezos knows he’s not going to get everything right. But when he misses, he looks to learn a lesson from it in the process. As he said in his 1997 letter to shareholders: “We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages. Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.”
Running Back: Howard Schultz — Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX)
Longtime investors in Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ:SBUX) know how much Howard Schultz means to this business and how much the business means to him. From 2000 to 2008 Schultz took a hiatus from the business, and during this time its stock price languished. Since his return in 2008 the stock has flourished, gaining close to 300% and throttling Mr. Market in the process. The brand is now a full-fledged lifestyle brand, and this is thanks primarily to Schultz’s leadership.
Running Back: Sally Smith — Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD)
Smith has been with Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) since 1994 and has been its CEO since 1996. Investors have won big-time since the company IPO’d in 2003; the stock is up more than 830%! Buffalo Wild Wings is a bit more than halfway toward its goal of 1,700 North American stores, and with franchise plans on the international front in markets like Mexico, the Middle East, and the Philippines, there’s still plenty of room for it to run.
Wide Receiver: Steve Ells/Monty Moran — Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG)
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) has co-CEOs, so I’m getting a twofer here. Ells is a classically trained chef and Moran (a former lawyer) focuses very much on the cultural aspect of the business. In fact, Moran was the brains behind Chipotle’s Restaurateur program, which is responsible for the development of management from the company’s in-house talent. So far it seems to be working, and with a new concept in the ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen just beginning, it looks like Chipotle has a lot of growth ahead.