Here at the Fool, we believe that the quality of a CEO can make or break a company. At the same time, however, we recognize that determining the precise value of a CEO's contribution to his or her company is easier said than done. For example, how do you quantify Steve Jobs' creative influence at Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Reed Hastings' recent missteps at Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX)?

Enter Chiefist.com, a new member-based service that seeks to do just that. It analyzes data on CEO compensation and company performance, and then ranks companies according to management quality. This article is the second in a series using three Chiefist screens aimed at identifying the 10 best CEOs over the past decade.

The screen in this article is limited to the S&P 500 and ranks CEOs according to Chiefist's proprietary market capitalization formula -- which, as I understand it, approximates total market capitalization growth for the chosen time period (in this case, the past 10 years). As you'll see in the table below, this list contains a number of both usual and unusual suspects.

As a side note, I also included a column with my own estimate of the companies' growth in market cap to serve as a check on the rankings. And while they don't match up exactly, there's no question that all 10 CEOs have reigned over a decade of massive growth.

Rank

CEO

Company

Industry

2010 Compensation

10-Year Market Cap Growth

1 Steve Jobs* Apple IT hardware $1 5,497%
2 John Pinkerton Range Resources Energy exploration $6,633,977 4,358%
3 Jeff Bezos Amazon E-commerce $1,681,840 3,529%
4 Reed Hastings Netflix E-commerce $5,516,633 1,930%**
5 Debra Cafaro Ventas Real estate $8,541,106 1,713%
6 Merrill Miller National Oilwell Varco (NYSE: NOV) Energy exploration $9,250,871 1,749%
7 John McAdam F5 Networks (Nasdaq: FFIV) IT hardware $8,884,962 1,659%
8 Aubrey McClendon Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) Energy exploration $21,044,952 1,402%
9 Tim Solso Cummins (NYSE: CMI) Heavy equipment $9,111,727 1,213%
10 Richard Smucker J.M. Smucker Co. Food and beverage $7,977,283 997%

Source: Chiefist.com and S&P Capital IQ. *While I'm aware that Steve Jobs is no longer Apple's CEO, I nevertheless deemed it appropriate to include him on the list. **Netflix's market capitalization growth figure is calculated from its May 2002 IPO.

Foolish bottom line
While our mission here at The Motley Fool is to "educate, amuse, and enrich," we often learn as much from readers as you all do from us. So let me know what you think about Chiefist's rankings by leaving a comment in the box below. And be sure to let me know if your favorite CEO isn't on the list and the reasons why he/she should be.

As a final note, I invite you to check out a free report that we recently released detailing 11 rock-solid dividend stocks that will stuff your mailbox with fat dividend checks each quarter in the years to come. To access this free report while it's still available, click here now.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.