Following eight straight weeks of profiling top-notch CEOs, and the first week of actual community voting, it's time to unveil which four CEOs are moving onto the quarterfinals and still have a shot at being named the best CEO in 2012.

The methodology behind the voting is simple. Similar to an NCAA-style basketball bracket, the eight CEOs were pitted into four matchups last week that the community had one week to vote on. This week we're releasing the results of the previous week's voting, and the remaining four CEOs are again going to be bracketed for voting. Voting will continue over the next two weeks until we have a winner, which will be unveiled at the beginning of December.

As you can see, the ball really is in your court and you do have a say in who merits the coveted title of The Motley Fool's chosen CEO of the year. Below the voting bracket I've included a recap of last week's voting, as well as a quick synopsis of this week's matchup; however, I encourage you to revisit the nomination article for a more complete explanation of why that particular CEO was nominated for this award:

Last week's recap:

  • Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA) crushes Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL): This high-profile matchup wasn't anywhere near as close as originally anticipated. By a margin of 76% to 24%, community members have chosen to send Arena's Jack Lief onto the next round. Perhaps Apple's weak Christmas-quarter guidance and the possibility that the iPad Mini may cannibalize its tablet margins had something to do with the community's lack of support for Apple's Tim Cook?
  • Lumbers Liquidators (NYSE:LL) mercy-rules Gap (NYSE:GPS): It wasn't Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale, but by a vote of 92% to 8% it was a landslide in every sense of the word for Lumber Liquidators' Robert Lynch. Not even Gap's 66% jump in net income and boosted full-year forecast could save CEO Glenn Murphy from securing just a fraction of community members' votes.
  • Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM) slices and dices Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF-A): Oddly enough, this matchup received as many votes as nearly all other matchups combined! Unfortunately for Jon Feltheimer and Lions Gate, a ridiculously impressive debut for its latest Twilight movie went for naught as Whole Foods and its co-CEOs John Mackey and Walter Robb advanced by a score of 71% to 29%.
  • Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) edges out Silver Wheaton (NYSE:WPM): In what was by far the closest matchup of the four, Regions Financial's Grayson Hall sneaked past Silver Wheaton's Randy Smallwood by a vote of 53% to 47%. Either CEO would be perfectly deserving of moving onto the second round, but it appears Hall will be getting the opportunity per our community members.

Semifinal matchup: Arena Pharmaceuticals vs. Regions Financial
This matchup will pit two very different companies and CEOs against each other to see which one has the pill to cure investors' ills. On one hand, Arena Pharmaceuticals' Jack Lief is an innovator who's led his company to develop what could very well become the first internationally approved anti-obesity drug in Belviq. On the other hand we have Regions Financial's Grayson Hall, who has used traditional banking methods to reinvigorate profits, strengthen his bank's balance sheet, and pay off its entire $3.5 billion in TARP loan obligations. Which pill would you take? That's up to you!

Check back for results
Be sure to check out the other best CEO semifinal matchup at the following link, and check back next week, when we unveil the results and highlight the final round of voting to help determine who is The Motley Fool's choice for best CEO of 2012.

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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.