Reba McEntire has famously stated that “to succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a back bone, and a funny bone.” But the modern CEO will need one more thing: to be tech-savvy.
In the current digitised era, this is hardly surprising. What is surprising is that less than 2% of companies listed in the Fortune 500 of 2012 are ranked as “highly digital”, even though they are at the very top of the list. You’d think that this trend was self-evident and that more CEOs took an interest in IT sphere. Alas, there are four CEOs who exemplify what a modern CEO should aspire to be.
Jeff Bezos – Amazon
The CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos has been dubbed the best living CEO in the world by the Harvard Business Review. Bezos started his business career working in the computer science field. With the rise of the internet and a sound business mind, he decided to start Amazon in his garage. His knowledge of the digital realm, as well as his computer science and business training allowed him to establish the leading online retailer ever established. In 2011, Amazon’s shares jumped 55%, adding $6.5 billion to his net worth. He continues to be at the forefront of the digital realm with the advent of the highly successful Kindle.
Steve Ballmer – Microsoft
One of Google’s most staunch rivals, the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, is yet another unsurprising name on the list. Dropping out of university to join Microsoft, he headed several Microsoft divisions, including operations, operating systems development, and sales and support. His hands on approach early in the company ensure he was well equipped to be CEO when he replaced Bill Gates in January 2000. It is argued that since Ballmer’s ascension, Microsoft has enjoyed the greatest success in its history, and most of that is due to Ballmer’s tech-savvy coupled with a sound business mind.
Larry Page – Google
It’s hardly a surprise to find the CEO and co-founder of the web’s most successful search engine on this list. Page also started his career in the computer science field. With Sergey Brin, he went on to co-found Google, Inc. while still at university. Page’s tech-savvy is undeniable, as Google moves from the purely digital domain, including advertising services, data centres and other web-based tools, further and further into the physical world with phones and tablets. While the financial backing and purchase of Android, Inc. is attributed to former CEO, Eric Schmidt, Page has his own moments of digitally informed business genius with Google+.
Bob Iger – Disney
We expected the majority of tech-savvy CEOs to work, and even be born in the digital realm, but here is a welcome relief from that trend. Bob Iger, CEO of Disney has proven his digital know-how many times over. One of his intelligent moves was to buy Pixar, allowing Steve Jobs, a founder of Pixar, to become a board member of Disney. He also named Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg to the board. By naming tech-savvy people to the board of directors, he’s ensured that Disney remains at the forefront of the digital realm.
Author’s Bio: Adrian Rodriguez is a freelance writer whose favourite area of study is online businesses. One day, he hopes to be a CEO – and a tech-savvy one at that!