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Microsoft’s Satya Nadella Named World’s Top CEO by Brand Guardianship Index 2022

26 January 2022
This article is more than 1 year old.

View the full Brand Guardianship Index 2022
as part of the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 report here

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella has been named the world’s top CEO by a new report published today by leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance. Mr Nadella has been credited with overhauling Microsoft’s fortunes by changing its culture towards one of teamwork, innovation, and inclusivity, and instilling a growth mindset throughout the business.

Ranking the world’s top 250 CEOs, the Brand Guardianship Index evaluates the performance of chief executives according to how well they manage and grow their companies’ brands. The ranking is informed by the results of an original survey of over 1,000 market analysts and journalists. The top 250 ranking is drawn from a sample of over 500 chief executives of the world’s top companies with at least one brand featured in the annual ranking of the world’s top 500 most valuable brands – the Brand Finance Global 500.

The top 10 of the ranking is dominated by brand guardians from the tech and media sectors, with Tech boasting the majority with six featuring. Tim Cook sits in a well-earned 2nd place, having overseen Apple’s record-breaking year, which saw it become the first company to achieve a US$3 trillion market valuation. Mr Cook is joined by the brand guardians of a number of household brand names, with Tencent’s Huateng Ma (4th), Google’s Sundar Pichai (5th), and Netflix’s Reed Hastings (7th) all featuring at the top of the ranking.

David Haigh, Chairman & CEO of Brand Finance, commented:

“Ultimately, the role of a brand guardian is to build brand and business value. Our ranking recognises those who are building business value in a sustainable manner, by balancing the needs of all stakeholders – employees, investors, and the wider society. More and more, the CEOs ranked in the Brand Guardianship Index must work in partnership to build a sustainable future, redefining the role of a CEO from ultra-competitive entrepreneur to collaborative diplomat.”

AMD CEO Lisa Su is a new entrant in 10th place, making her the highest-ranked female in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022. Dr. Su newly qualifies for the ranking as AMD has propelled into the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 after an impressive 122% brand value growth over the past year.

Dr. Su’s leadership of a tech company is unfortunately a rarity, with most being run by male CEOs. This is reflected in the ranking, as the rise in the number of tech brands has come hand in hand with a decrease in the number of female CEOs in the top 100 – from eight in 2021 to five this year.

At a country level, the Brand Guardianship Index 2022 mirrors the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking, with the US and China leading the way. There are 101 CEOs from the US, which represents 40% of the index, and 47 from China, which represents 19%.

The brand guardians from these two countries head up a number of key sectors beyond Tech and Media: Jianjun Wei of Great Wall in Automobiles (3rd), Patricia Griffith of Progressive Insurance (11th), Xiongjun Ding of Moutai in Spirits (12th), Baoan Xin of State Grid in Utilities (13th), Punit Renjen of Deloitte in Commercial Services (14th), Brian Moynihan of Bank of America in Banking (16th), Ramon Laguarta of Pepsi in Soft Drinks (17th), Andy Jassy of Amazon in Retail (23rd), Gang Pan of Yili in Food (36th), Wei Wang of SF Express in Logistics (58th), and Guoqiang Yang of Country Garden in Real Estate (88th).

The highest-ranked CEO outside of the US and China dominance is the ADNOC brand guardian H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. 15th in the ranking, he is also the top-scoring leader in the oil and gas sector. Aside from his role at ADNOC, Dr. Sultan holds senior positions within the UAE government, and is a key figure in promoting the diversification and growth of the UAE economy.

Overall, the UAE punches well above its weight in the Brand Guardianship Index 2022. The CEOs of the three UAE brands from the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking all feature and record higher scores than last year, with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Emirates (34th) and Etisalat’s Hatem Dowidar (79th) joining Dr Sultan in the top 100.

View the full Brand Guardianship Index 2022
as part of the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 report here

Note to Editors

Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes nearly 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 250 CEOs are ranked in the Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index (“BGI”) – now in its 4th year.

The BGI is used to objectively evaluate the performance of chief executives. In particular, the BGI is focused on how well chief executives manage and grow their brand portfolio, and is determined from a sample of over 500 chief executives who have a brand featured in the Brand Finance Global 500 2022.

The BGI is comprised of three pillars – Investment, Equity and Performance – and is informed by original research through a survey of over 1,000 market analysts and journalists. The full ranking, additional insights, charts, more information about the methodology, and definitions of key terms are available in the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 report.

Media Contacts

Michael Josem
Associate Communications Director
Brand Finance
Ed Will
Group Marketing & Communications Director
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance          

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organisations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardisation of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671, and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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