The Motley Fool's readers have spoken, and I have heeded your cries. After months of pointing out CEO gaffes and faux pas, I've decided to make it a weekly tradition to also point out corporate leaders who are putting the interests of shareholders and the public first and are generally deserving of praise from investors. For reference, here is last week's selection.
This week, I want to highlight the current CEO of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , Larry Page, as well as make honorable mention of his co-founding partner, Sergey Brin, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, for creating a fast-growing and employee-friendly company that was good enough to take the top spot in 2012 on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For."
Kudos to all three of you
Google probably needs little introduction. The company is the cornerstone of the advertising and search-engine market and is the model by which other advertisers base their own businesses around. Its dominance and expertise in online and mobile applications has pushed traditional publishers such as New York Times (NYSE: NYT ) to the brink and forced much of that traditional content online. It has also completely stymied outdoor billboard advertisers such as Lamar Advertising (Nasdaq: LAMR ) , which has seen sales go sideways since 2006 and has been unable to post healthy annual profits since before the recession.
In the search-engine market, Google has reduced Yahoo! and Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) market relevance on a nearly yearly basis. According to Nielsen, in August 2007, Google controlled 53.6% of search-engine market share, followed by Yahoo! at 19.9%, and Microsoft's Bing at 12.9%. Flash forward to August 2012, and these figures have become even more inextricably lopsided, with Google garnering 66% market share, Bing gaining slightly at 15%, and Yahoo! continuing its freefall to 13%.
Google's five-year compound annual sales growth rate of 29%, its improving net income, and its $33.6 billion in net cash are even further testament to its dominance.
A step above their peers
As I've shown in the past, it isn't just enough to be a dominant company -- the intangibles have to exist that keep employees happy and productivity up. Google takes care of this on three fronts.
First, Google is hiring -- and in a big way! At the beginning of 2011, Google had outlined plans to expand its workforce faster than at any time in its history by adding 6,000 jobs. Although the rate of additions slowed dramatically in the fourth quarter, Google trounced its own forecasts and added 8,000 jobs in 2011.
Second, Google is focused on hiring more women, Realizing that its interview process wasn't conducive to garnering top-notch female talent, Google recently announced proactive plans to ensure that prospective female employees meet other female representatives in the interview process, as well as redesigned their questions such that the accomplishments of these candidates will be more readily visible.
Finally, Google has created a community atmosphere. By that, I mean Google employees have access to on-site medical care, gyms, 25 cafes filled with food (all free!), and countless other benefits. In Larry Page's own words with Fortune, "It make[s] the company feel more like a family."
Two thumbs up
This week it's more like six thumbs up, because both co-founders, Page and Brin, as well as decade-long former CEO Schmidt, have created not just a business but a community in Google. It's evident by Google's multiple years as Fortune's "Top Company to Work For" that its employees are happy, that they believe in the company mission, and that Google's results are backing up this belief.
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Do you have a CEO you'd like to nominate for this prestigious weekly honor? If so, then head on over to the new CEO of the Week board and chime in with your fellow Fools on who deserves some praise. If you don't have a nominee yet, don't worry: You can still weigh in on other members' selections.