Australia’s most successful CEO

Biotech CSL (ASX: CSL) waved goodbye last Friday to its long-standing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Brian McNamee after 23 years with the company. McNamee’s successor, Mr Paul Perrault, is inheriting a company in a commercially strong position, with a rock-solid balance sheet and  a share price trading at 25 times historic earnings.

According to research conducted by broker Citibank, Dr McNamee is the number one CEO in terms of total shareholder returns (TSR) achieved over the past 25 years with an annual TSR of 25.9%. He is closely followed by Mr Allan Moss of Macquarie Group (ASX: MQG) with a return of 23.8%.

Coming in at third place was Dr Michael Chaney, whom as CEO of Wesfarmers (ASX: WES) achieved a TSR of 19.9% during his tenure. Rounding out the list of top five performing CEOs is Commonwealth Bank’s (ASX: CBA) Mr David Murray with 19.4% and Mr Wal King from Leighton Holdings (ASX: LEI) with 18.5%.

Foolish takeaway

Achieving such high rates of returns for shareholders over a sustained period of time is anything but the norm. That’s why identifying high calibre CEOs who act with the interests of shareholders in mind and have the ability to add significant value are so highly prized. Identifying CEOs with these attributes isn’t always easy, but once discovered it can be well worth investors sticking with them.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur owns shares in Macquarie Bank.

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