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Wednesday, December 08, 2010, 06:20 am PT (09:20 am ET)

Apple's Steve Jobs named MarketWatch 'CEO of the Decade'

Calling him the "rock star of corporate America," Steve Jobs was named "CEO of the Decade" by MarketWatch for his tremendous success as Apple's chief executive.

Heralded as one of the greatest comeback stories in business history, Jobs' ascension brought his company from the brink of bankruptcy to Silicon Valley's biggest success story. The profile notes that investors who put $1,000 into Apple stock at the end of 2000 would have seen it grow to nearly $43,000 today.

Jobs is also credited for "almost single-handedly" saving the recording industry with the iPod and iTunes. The profile also compares him to great inventors like Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, as well as the visionary Walt Disney.

"He revolutionized handheld devices and touch-screen technology with the iPhone," author Russ Britt wrote. "And he may well usher in a post-PC era of computing with his latest gadget, the iPad."

It's been a tremendous surge to the top for Apple, which was worth about $5 billion in 2000. In May, the Cupertino, Calif., company's market capitalization exceeded Microsoft, making it the second largest American company. Apple's market cap of $291.9 billion still has a long ways to go to catch Exxon, though, which is worth $360.3 billion.

In being named the MarketWatch CEO of the Decade, Jobs edged out a few of his rivals in the tech industry. Among the runners up were Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Other finalists were Starbucks CEO and Howard Schultz, and Tim Solso of Cummins.

MarketWatch

An illustration of the MarketWatch CEO of the Decade finalists, led by Steve Jobs.


Jobs did not, however, win the publication's "CEO of the Year" honors. Alan Mulally of Ford was named the top chief executive for 2010.

This week's announcement marks the second time that Jobs has been granted the title "CEO of the Decade." In 2009, that honor was bestowed on him by Fortune, which referred to him as a "showman, a born salesman, a magician who creates a famed reality-distortion field, [and] a tyrannical perfectionist."