Tech CEO Report Card: Schmidt Goes At All-Time High Approval Rating; eBay’s Donahoe Climbs As Yahoo’s Bartz Falls In Past Year

Tech CEO Report Card: Schmidt Goes At All-Time High Approval Rating; eBay’s Donahoe Climbs As Yahoo’s Bartz Falls In Past Year

As Google CEO Eric Schmidt prepares to hand over the reins, his employee approval rating is at an all-time high – and the highest among his peer group CEOs, according to new analysis from Glassdoor.com that evaluated employee opinions of 12 large technology companies over the past two years1.  Based on surveys submitted by Google employees over the past 12 months (March 2010-March 2011), Schmidt’s approval rating is 96%, up three points from the prior 12-month period.

He’s followed closely by Apple’s Steve Jobs, who —  even while on medical leave — has a 95% approval rating, down 3 points from the prior year. During the same period, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Oracle’s Larry Ellison both dropped four points to 83% and 73% approval respectively.

eBay’s John Donahoe saw the greatest improvement in his approval rating year over year. Between March 2009 and March 2010, he had just a 24% approval rating among employees, whereas between March 2010 and March 2011, he held a 46% approval rating.

Other CEOs on the rise include Intuit’s Brad Smith, who saw an 18-point improvement from 69% approval to 87% in the most recent 12-month period. And, Dell’s Michael Dell saw a 12-point improvement year-over-year, holding an average 48% approval in the past 12 months.

The largest year-over-year decline belongs to Yahoo’s Carol Bartz, indicating her honeymoon may be long over. In the year she started, Bartz maintained a 77% approval rating, which was more than twice the approval rating of her predecessor Jerry Yang, who had a 34% approval upon his departure.  In the past 12 months, Bartz’s approval has dropped to 50% after months of declining approval as seen in the line chart below.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer saw the second biggest decline among the dozen CEOs evaluated. Between March 2009 and March 2010, he held an average 46% approval rating, which has dropped to 40% in the past 12 months.

Over the two years, company ratings for the dozen tech companies evaluated remained pretty stable year-over-year. The highest rated is Google at 3.8 (satisfied), followed closely by Adobe (3.6, satisfied), Apple (3.6, satisfied) and Intel (3.6, satisfied).  eBay saw the greatest increase, increasing from a 2.7 to a 2.9 (ok) rating in the past 12 months. Amazon slipped during the same period from a 3.3 to a 3.1 (ok) rating.

How will Larry Page rate?  We invite Google employees to tell us starting Monday. Even as a co-founder, he has some large shoes to fill.  Are you a tech employee?  Fill out a Glassdoor survey and tell us how your CEO is doing.

(1) For this report, Glassdoor evaluated company and CEO approval ratings between March 16, 2009 through March 15, 2010, and March 16, 2010 through March 15, 2011.

(2) Glassdoor CEO approval ratings are calculated similarly to presidential approval ratings; Employees are simply asked: “Do you approve of the way your CEO is leading the company?”

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