Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos And Priceline CEO Jeff Boyd In Top 5 "Wealth Creators" List

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Chief Executive magazine and Applied Finance Group have published their third annual ranking of CEO “wealth creators” and “wealth destroyers”.

In the former category, the list of top 5 performers includes Priceline.com CEO Jeff Boyd, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos (see full list here).

What does that tell us, apart from the fact that it apparently helps being named Jeffrey?

The wealth creation index put together by Chief Executive and AFG attempts to identify those business leaders who have performed best in creating true economic value as measured by GAAP metrics – as opposed to mere accounting value. It leans heavily on the concept of economic margin (aka EM), measuring the degree to which a company makes money in excess of its risk-adjusted cost of capital.

The ranking focuses on the performance of companies (and their chief execs) in the S&P 500 index for the three years that ended on June 30, 2010. It’s based on reported results during that period and estimates for the next 12 months.

Here’s what makes Priceline, which entered the S&P 500 this year, stand out:

The company’s EM had been dragged down in earlier years, but was consistently high in more recent years. It has also had tremendous success in moving its U.S. business model to international markets, with non-U.S. revenue doubling last year to top U.S. revenue.

In addition, Priceline kept its operating costs in check, limiting them to 20 percent of year-on-year growth while pursuing an industry-leading growth in revenues of 27 percent. This allowed the firm to take market share from Expedia, another high scorer.

Less stellar performances in the technology/media space were logged by Computer Sciences’ Michael W. Laphen and Washington Post’s Donald E. Graham.

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