WPP CEO Martin Sorrell and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy have been Adland rivals for years, often taking shots at one another in the press.
The two executives and their companies have frequently battled in client reviews, the acquisition markets and for top industry awards.
Now the Harvard Business Review has provided additional fodder for the supporters of both executives to ponder by naming Sorrell and Levy to its just issued list of the world’s Top-100 CEO’s. They were the only two Adland holding company heads to make the cut.
Sorrell was ranked 5th and Levy 39th.
Both Sorrell and Levy made it to the annual list for the first time this year due to a change in methodology. Previously, the list included only CEO’s who were named to their post in 1995 or later. Sorrell has been CEO of WPP since 1986 while Levy took the helm of Publicis Groupe a year later.
The methodological change dramatically altered this year’ s rankings—HBR noted that 25% of the CEO’s on the new list were appointed prior to 1995, although the data used to analyze their companies’ performances (like the data for all the ranked companies) is from 1995 to the present. Some data for prior years isn’t available.
The Best CEO in the world per the HBR is Lars Rebien Sørensen, CEO of Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk. Media notables on this year’s list include Disney’s Robert Iger and Amazon’s Jeffrey Bezos.
More on the rankings and methodology can be found here.