The Leader That We Want to Be


Expansión CE | January 1, 2015



Nine Characteristics of the Best CEOs

A CEO earns approximately 100 dollars per hour, according to the statistics from the United States Department of Labor.

In Mexico, the managing director of a company may earn from 130,000 pesos per month up to 400,000 pesos according to PageGroup, an executive recruitment consultancy.

Although salary is one of the main motivating factors, reaching the highest position in a company is more important for some executives with careers on the rise.

Having managerial skills and a vision for the future are not enough to lead a company.

In a survey of almost 4,000 executives – including 130 CEOs – Russell Reynolds, a consultancy on corporate governance, organizational culture and high-level executive search, found that there are nine characteristics which make a manager a great leader. These are grouped into three categories:progressive thinking, bold spirit, and team work.

Although these traits do not exist in isolation, nine leaders exemplify why it is good to have them.

Jeff Bezos - Amazon

He has avant-garde ideas and is ready for the future. Bezos is a visionary. He launched Amazon, the first online bookstore, 20 years ago, and in 2007, he launched Kindle, an electronic book reader. Today, he sells two of every five books in the United States. Furthermore, he opened up his channel so that other suppliers can sell their products. In 2013, the company sold $74,452 million worth of merchandise, with a gross profit of $20,271 million.


Daniel Servitje - Bimbo

Calculates consequences before taking risks. The capacity for planning and the ability to anticipate the future have helped Daniel Servitje. Bimbo has acquired 43 companies around the world, making it a global company. However, all of its purchases are in the baked goods industry Servitje successfully combines aggressiveness with a pragmatic conservatism.


Marissa Mayer - Yahoo

Shows emotion without losing control. She is well known for worrying about the mental state of her collaborators. She knows that if they are fine, they will have a better attitude. Even so, when she accepted the challenge of rescuing Yahoo!, she did not hesitate to bring order and discipline to the company. For example, she does not allow employees to work from home


Daniel Hajj - América Móvil

Executes quickly without being impulsive. Hajj is selective in the initiatives he pursues. When the telephone market started to migrate from voice to data, he invested aggressively in data and content systems, which transformed America Móvil into the biggest investor in the region.


Louise Goeser - Siemens Mesoamérica

Believes in diversity and criticism. Goeser respects the work styles of her collaborators. One of her favorite expressions is: “Diverse teams perform better.” However, she usually very closely monitors the activities they carry out and has no problem telling them how they can improve.


Robert A. Iger - Disney

Examines new ideas without over-analyzing them. He became Disney’s CEO in 2005, when the dream company was close to becoming a nightmare. Because of his quick decisions, Disney’s shares rose from costing $23.8 in 2005 to $91.9 on January 6.


Mary T. Barra - GM

Tough and persevering, but not insensitive. The first female CEO of an automotive company had a complicated start in GM. She had to testify in the United States Court for a manufacturing defect in their vehicles which resulted in the deaths of 74 people. She assumed responsibility for the defect and even met with some of the victims’ family members.


Warren Buffet - Berkshire Hathaway

He involves the team, but he makes the final decisions. At Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett makes sure that he has the right people on his team. He always trusts his instincts and believes that a leader must surround himself with people more talented than himself. He appreciates when his collaborators contribute ideas, and he has an “open-door” policy. However, in the end, he makes the important decisions.


José Antonio Fernández - FEMSA

Pursues new opportunities with optimism. He sees opportunities where others only see risks. With FEMSA, he entered new markets, including Asia. However with the FEMSA Comercio line, which operates the OXXO stores, he has an average increase of 10% in points of sale.


SOURCES: Francisco Ruiz Maza, executive director of Russell Reynolds Mexico. Nora Taboada, senior consultant at YSC is an expert consultant on leadership. Elena Espinalis managing director of Team Power, an executive coaching consultancy. Diego Vicente Cortés is a professor of Organizational Behavior at the IE Business School.

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The Leader That We Want to Be