Following eight straight weeks of profiling top-notch CEOs, and three rounds of actual community voting, it's time to unveil which CEO has been named the Motley Fool community's best CEO of 2012.
The methodology behind the voting was simple. Similar to an NCAA-style basketball bracket, the original eight CEOs were pitted into four matchups three weeks ago that the community had one week to vote on. Two weeks ago we released the results of the previous week's voting, and the remaining four CEOs were again bracketed for voting. Last week we unveiled last week's results and bracketed the top two CEOs for a final round of voting.
As you can see with the way this entire process played out, the ball really was in your court, and the Motley Fool community was able to have a say in who merits the coveted title of The Motley Fool's chosen CEO of the year.
So without further ado, let's get to the results!
In what was truly a heated battle between Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA) CEO Jack Lief and Lumber Liquidators (NYSE:LL) CEO Robert Lynch that drew more than 3,600 votes in just one week's time (nearly as many votes as all previous rounds combined), the winner of the highly coveted title of Motley Fool CEO of the year is... Robert Lynch of Lumber Liquidators!
In a vote that went back and forth numerous times, Lynch edged out Lief by a final tally of 54% to 46%; however, there's no shame in coming in second for Jack Lief. His company's weight control management drug Belviq appears in line to gain international approval following the struggles of its primary rival, VIVUS (NASDAQ:VVUS), with Qsymia sales domestically and its inability to get approved in Europe.
Lynch and Lumber Liquidators benefited somewhat from a long overdue rebound in the housing sector. A mixture of higher new-home sales and continued remodeling projects boded well for do-it-yourself retail chains Home Depot and Lowe's as well as specialized homebuilding material companies like Lumber Liquidators.
But it was more than just luck that landed Robert Lynch in the CEO of the Year chair. Lynch's implemented three-point plan to turn his company around worked wonders, shooting the share price up threefold since the year began.
Lynch first switched up his company's marketing strategy to focus not only on the do-it-yourself customers, but also the casual homeowner that still planned to hire a professional. This is one reason same-store sales have consistently risen by double digits in multiple quarters. Second, Lynch turned his attention to controlling costs by overseeing the purchase of product development and logistics company Sequoia Flooring when he was COO in order to eliminate the high costs of having a middleman. Finally, Lynch focused on the deep discounts and value that bring customer traffic into his stores. As you can tell by Lumber Liquidators' performance, the results have been phenomenal.
Robert Lynch is, without question, a well-deserving recipient of the title "CEO of the Year," and I congratulate him (and the Motley Fool community who voted) on a job well done!