The most influential CEOs in markets today – Morningstar

By MarketWatch
They are the corporate chiefs whose actions, work and opinions are reverberating through these financial markets. There are 14 CEOs on the MarketWatch 50.
They run everything from auto manufacturers to social media companies, big banks, big tech and big oil. They are the corporate chiefs whose actions, work and opinions are reverberating through these financial markets. Meet the 14 CEOs on the MarketWatch 50 list of most influential people in markets.
Mary Barra
Mary Barra has pivoted GM toward electric and autonomous vehicles in a massive way. Her plan calls on the legacy auto maker to only sell zero-emission vehicles by 2035. To make that happen, the company is investing $35 billion in EVs and AVs by 2025, by which point it plans to overtake Tesla by selling 1 million electric vehicles per year. GM (GM) also unveiled plans to double its annual revenue to $280 billion by the end of decade amid its transition to its all-electric future. Barra’s leadership under pandemic-related auto-parts shortages and other supply-chain snags has earned praise from investors, even as her pivot to electric makes the oil markets nervous.
Safra Catz
Safra Catz became Oracle’s sole CEO on the eve of the pandemic. This year she put her mark on the database giant. Known as a dealmaker, Catz moved Oracle to expand into healthcare by buying health IT company Cerner in June in a $28 billion deal that valued Cerner at $95 a share. It was Oracle’s biggest deal ever and one of the biggest deals of the year. Larry Ellison still looms large at the company he founded, but the Cerner purchase was part of Catz’s effort to transform Oracle into a cloud-based vendor and compete with Amazon and Microsoft. In September 2022, the company reported $3.6 billion in quarterly cloud revenue, up 45%, and Catz sees this as a "hyper-growth phase" for Oracle’s cloud-infrastructure business. As part of Catz’s transition, Oracle (ORCL) laid off hundreds of employees in the summer, mostly from its marketing and customer-experience department.
Tim Cook
Tim Cook heads the world’s most valuable company and its size is being felt more in the stock market than ever. The company represents about 13% of the Nasdaq Composite index and 7% of the S&P 500. Apple’s App Store ecosystem drives more than $600 billion of revenue for developers. On the technology front, Cook has pivoted Apple toward creating a highly anticipated headset that allows for mixed reality. It will be Apple’s first new big product since the smartwatch and Cook has called augmented reality "a big idea like the smartphone." Cook has been a market trendsetter in other important ways. He has Apple (AAPL) repurchasing $90 billion of its shares annually, setting the pace for stock buybacks in the market. Cook’s steady hand has also helped Apple better withstand the market’s tech wreck compared to the other big tech companies, making it a more stable pillar for the teetering Nasdaq Composite index generally.
Kareem Daniel
Walt Disney Co (DIS). dreamed of quickly challenging Netflix Inc. in streaming, and a roaring start for Disney+ grew even louder as the COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone to their televisions. As Disney has sought to restructure and adapt to the new reality, the company turned to Kareem Daniel in a newly created unit that decides what content goes to Disney’s different business models: streaming, theaters or cable television. Daniel’s decisions make him the most consequential executive in the entertainment business. In 2022, Disney reported that Disney Streaming had become the world’s largest streaming company, with 221.1 million subscriptions across its streaming services Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar, ESPN+, and Hulu against Netflix’s 220.67 million.
Jamie Dimon
When the head of the biggest U.S. bank speaks, people listen. And Dimon has been speaking a lot. In early May, Dimon said he saw only a 33% chance of the U.S. avoiding a recession–just before stock investors came around to their own pessimistic conclusions about the economy that drove all three major stock indexes to further double-digit losses this year. The doomsaying continued in June, with a warning in June to get ready for an economic "hurricane." JPMorgan & Co. (JPM), he said, is being "very conservative with our balance sheet." Dimon told federal lawmakers in September they "should be prepared for the worst" and described cryptocurrencies as being like "decentralized Ponzi schemes." In October, Dimon spooked markets by suggesting stocks could fall another 20%. He also urged the U.S. to pump more oil and gas to maintain its global standing.
Jane Fraser
When Jane Fraser took the helm of an underperforming Citigroup (C) last year, she became the first woman to head up a major bank. This year, she began a years-long major process of overhauling the bank with arguably the broadest global markets reach. That includes bigger investments in regulations and technology–and getting out of business that aren’t helping the organization with its over $2.3 trillion in assets. Fraser has already sold nine of Citi’s consumer operations in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Despite the market upheaval of 2022, Fraser remains committed to the turnaround plan.
Vicki Hollub
Vicki Hollub has overseen a stunning comeback in 2022 and led U.S. oil frackers away from being swing producers countering the war-driven increase in energy prices.This year, Hollub’s Occidental Petroleum is the best-performing stock in the S&P 500, helped along by Warren Buffett, who has bought up more than 20% of the company. Hollub has been paying back debt and returning cash to shareholders through dividends and stock buybacks, instead of plowing some of that money into the Permian, the largest U.S. oil field, where Occidental (OXY) is the biggest acreage holder. Occidental has also led the charge for new carbon-capture technology by investing in it and getting Washington to support it in recent legislation.
Andy Jassy
In 2022, Andy Jassy made his presence in the CEO position felt at the world’s fifth-biggest publicly traded company, which has an ecosystem of small businesses numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Confronted with one of the worst patches of financial performance in Amazon.com’s 28-year history, Jassy has looked to trim back costs at the company that had largely ignored Wall Street’s whims when it came to spending for years. One area of cut-whacking for Jassy has been to tamp down on opening hundreds of new warehouses, sorting centers and other logistics facilities while doubling the company’s workforce to more than 1.5 million over a short period. Jassy also shut down Amazon’s telehealth service and its video-calling device. Jassy made a move predecessor Jeff Bezos avoided for years: Buying back stock in a big way. He also made the strategic decision to buy healthcare provider One Medical for $3.9 billion. Regulators accused him in October of violating labor law in interviews where he expressed his stance on unions. The pressure is particularly intense on Jassy. Amazon’s (AMZN) stock plunged by 40% in the first 10 months of 2022.
Karen Lynch
The highest-ranking female executive in the U.S., Karen Lynch took over the CEO position at CVS Health (CVS) in the middle of the pandemic, right as the company’s nearly 10,000 pharmacy stores were becoming even more ubiquitous in American life. The stores transformed into COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution sites. Lynch is further expanding CVS’s influence in healthcare markets, serving 35 million health insurance customers through its Aetna unit and pushing health services inside stores, adding virtual primary care and behavioral health specialists. She also inked a deal in September that will see CVS buy in-home healthcare company Signify Health for $8 billion. CVS will likely surpass $300 billion in revenue in 2022, making it the nation’s fourth-largest publicly traded company by sales.
Elon Musk
Arguably the most consequential business person on the planet, Elon Musk has been all over the markets in 2022. He signed a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion in April and tried to terminate the takeover in July, leading to months of litigation with Twitter. He ultimately closed the deal and bought Twitter in October. The saga over the social media business has captivated both Wall Street and Silicon Valley, but didn’t even involve Musk’s day job. He has kept working to transform the automobile industry by running Tesla and spacecraft by heading SpaceX. While SpaceX is private, Tesla (TSLA) is one of most important stocks in the public markets. After a nearly 50% drop from its 2021 highs, its market capitalization still recently stood at some $700 billion. Musk’s presence has also been felt in the cryptocurrency arena, where he continued backing dogecoin, a digital currency that started as a joke, while pushing Tesla to sell 75% of its bitcoin, adding downward pressure on the biggest digital currency.
Amin Nasser
Amin Nasser runs the world’s second-most valuable company. But it’s Saudi Aramco’s status as the world’s biggest oil producer that has made Nasser so crucial as the war in Ukraine pushes up energy prices. The company serves as the final barrier against exploding oil prices. Nasser has promised that Aramco can be relied upon to produce 12 million barrels per day if needed. The company was pumping out some 11 million barrels daily in the summer, flat out near capacity. Nasser’s ability to deliver sustained oil production has been the linchpin for containing soaring inflation. Nasser said in September that "the world should be worried" about spare oil capacity once China starts to reopen its economy. At the same time, Saudi officials have also tried to set a floor on oil prices if they fall significantly. The kingdom in October pushed OPEC+ into a decision to cut oil production by 2 million barrels.
Lisa Su
(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires
11-09-22 0932ET
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