Highest Rated CEOs During the COVID-19 Crisis

It’s during difficult times that a leader really shows his or her true colors. This year, in particular, CEOs have had to make a range of difficult decisions given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s clear that some employees have felt supported and taken care of throughout the past few months as their employers have tried their best to prioritize the health and safety of their workforce, while also doing what’s right for the business they lead. Using employee feedback on Glassdoor, we examine which CEOs stand out for their leadership during these trying times.

We analyzed employee reviews on Glassdoor to identify CEOs who have earned high praise from their employees in the U.S. and the UK in terms of their leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to leveraging CEO approval rating and the senior leadership workplace factor rating during the last five months, we also used text analysis to see what employees were specifically saying about COVID-19 and their CEO in reviews on Glassdoor. These CEOs lead a variety of companies in different industries, including health care, tech, and finance, and have each taken unique approaches to lead during this time. The tables below highlight the 25 Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19 among large U.S. companies and 10 Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19 among large companies in the UK who stood out based on employee feedback on Glassdoor between March and July 2020.

25 Highest Rated CEOs During the COVID-19 Crisis in the U.S. 

Rank CEO Name Employer Leadership Score During COVID-19 Industry
1 Mark Aslett Mercury Systems 95% Aerospace & Defense
2 G. Brint Ryan Ryan, LLC 93% Accounting
3 Michael Weinstein AIDS Healthcare Foundation 92% Health Care
4 Eric S. Yuan Zoom Video Communications 89% Tech
5 Stanley Middleman Freedom Mortgage 89% Finance
6 Aaron Levie Box 89% Tech
7 Corey Schiller & Asher Raphael Power Home Remodeling 89% Construction
8 Ben Salzmann Acuity Insurance 89% Insurance
9 Jim Kavanaugh World Wide Technology 88% Tech
10 Michael Schall Essex Property Trust 88% Real Estate
11 Steve Beauchamp Paylocity 88% Tech
12 Kenneth Cooper North American Dental Group 88% Health Care
13 Stu Sjouwerman KnowBe4 88% Tech
14 Paul Todd GLG 87% Consulting
15 Daniel Springer DocuSign 87% Tech
16 Steve Hasker Thomson Reuters 86% Business Information Services
17 Shelly Sun BrightStar Care 86% Health Care
18 Krishna Sudheendra UST Global 86% Tech
19 Chad Richison Paycom 86% Tech
20 Michael F. Mahoney Boston Scientific 86% Manufacturing
21 Scott Moorehead TCC Verizon Authorized Retailer 86% Retail
22 Paul Markovich Blue Shield Of California 86% Insurance
23 Mark Pearson Equitable Advisors 85% Finance
24 Steven P. Richman Milwaukee Tool 85% Manufacturing
25 Bill Goldstein Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 85% Government

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (Glassdoor.com/research)

These CEOs lead their employees in the U.S. across a variety of sectors, with workforces doing their jobs both remotely and in-person during this time. While the tech industry is most represented on the U.S. list, CEOs representing health care, manufacturing, insurance, defense, and several other employers stood out for their exemplary leadership. Mark Aslett, CEO of Mercury Systems, rose to the top of the list, especially because of feedback from employees on how they felt well taken care of during the pandemic. Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom Video Communications, a company that has skyrocketed into the limelight and become a common way for people to communicate, has also been highly regarded by employees during this time. We also recognize several CEOs from Glassdoor’s previous Top CEOs award, such as Daniel Springer of DocuSign and Corey Schiller and Asher Raphael of Power Home Remodeling.

Key Theme: Caring for Employees During COVID-19

In both the U.S. and UK, when we analyze employee feedback at the companies with the Highest Rated CEOs During COVID-19, a few key themes stood out related to the pandemic. We looked at the most common two and three-word phrases that appeared in the pros section of reviews left between March and July 2020 at these companies. Work-life balance stood out as one of the most common phrases, which is a common theme among reviews even outside of the time period we focused on. Another frequent set of phrases related to caring about employees and actually taking care of them during this time. Other reviews call out flexible work schedules and support for employees’ health and well-being during the pandemic. And, many of the reviews referred positively to the ability to work remotely.

What are Employees Saying?

Glassdoor reviews help give a more detailed look into how employees at some of these companies have reacted to their CEO’s leadership during this time. Excerpts from select reviews are quoted below:

  • “This company has stepped up so much in the effort to support its employee’s health and well being during the COVID pandemic. Our CEO has been so open and transparent and has been extremely generous in making sure employees are well cared for…”
  • “The COVID pandemic showed how quick they are to react to our needs. No one person furlough and all staff were set up with the required equipment to work from home within days…”
  • “Since the start of COVID, we have had constant engagement and communication from upper management. The reassurance, guidance, leadership, and support has been nothing short of amazing. Please keep the communication flowing.”

These CEOs represent just a small subset of leaders who have stepped up to the plate to ensure the well-being and success of their employees amid COVID-19. A common trend from the feedback of employees of these leaders is that they are prioritizing their employees and making sure they are taken care of. As many of these employees are navigating major changes during the pandemic, between making the shift to working from home or adding additional health and safety precautions for work that requires face-to-face interaction, it’s clear that frequent and transparent communication as well as making the effort to listen to employees’ needs is more important than ever. As the pandemic progresses, it will be interesting to see how employers continue to put programs and resources in place to keep their employees motivated and satisfied in their jobs.


Article author: Amanda Stansell

Originally published in: Glassdoor