- Jim Skinner, McDonald’s
The winner of a slew of awards like “Executive of the Year” and “Most Respected CEO,” Jim Skinner is a company chief who turned his collar from blue to white through hard work and a focus on customers. After 10 years in the Navy, Skinner returned home to Illinois in 1971 to work as a McDonald’s restaurant manager. He worked his way to CEO in 2004 and led the company to a 40% earnings bump in four years thanks to zeroing in on value and service. Now he is steering McDonald’s toward healthier food options for kids and programs like National Hiring Day, which saw much-needed jobs offered to 60,000 Americans.
Image credit: CC by Mike Mozart