CEO Beauty Contest: The Most Popular Head Honchos in America

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Tell Me How Great I Am
As income inequality has loomed larger in Americans' minds -- especially since the Great Recession -- CEOs and their pay has been a central example of what is wrong with our economy. But not everyone hates CEOs, some of them are quite popular . . . with their own employees. Here's a list of those who come in at over 90 percent approval according to Glassdoor.com:

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, 97 percent

Dick Costolo, Twitter, 96 percent

Dominic Barton, McKinsey & Co., 96 percent

Larry Page, Google, 95 percent

John S. Watson, Chevron, 94 percent

Alan Mullaly, Ford Motor Company, 94 percent

Craig Jelinek, Costco, 93 percent

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs, 93 percent

Tim Cook, Apple, 92 percent

Louis Camilleri, Philip Morris International, 92 percent

Richard Davis, U.S. Bank, 90 percent

Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil, 90 percent

Bob Iger, Disney, 90 percent

Some less popular CEOs are Wal-Mart's (not surprising) and Microsoft's.

Mike Duke, Wal-Mart, 48 percent

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft, 47 percent

Now, there does not seem to be much of a connection between CEO's popularity and their compensation. Here's a list of the top 100 paid CEOs with Houston's own RIchard D. Kinder of KinderMorgan coming at number four with a whopping $60 million in compensation last year.

This is reminiscent of the old political trope that Americans hate Congress, but like their own congressman. Just keep those dividends coming and we'll be happy campers. Wal-Mart CEO's ranking makes sense in that they pay their employees what is barely a living wage (if that), resist unionization at every turn, all the while socking away $4.7 billion in profit last year. Steve Ballmer had the unfortunate fate of replacing Bill Gates, which is akin to replacing the beloved QB who had multiple Super Bowl rings. Add to that fact, he has seen Microsoft eclipsed by Apple during his tenure as the computer company that is the darling of the tech world and the public.

CEOs are, to put it perhaps a bit too simply, overpaid: they make 273 times as much as the average worker and their compensation is up for 37.4 percent since 2009 (is yours?). But since we've decided that CEOs are to be celebrated for their (alleged) genius (see, e.g., Steve Jobs), this will be the status quo.

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