Executive Dream Team: Readers editionAugust 15, 2013: 5:00 AM ET
Consumer brands and known names triumphed in our second-annual online fantasy business game.
By Daniel Roberts, writer-reporter
FORTUNE -- Good news, fantasy sports enthusiasts! The corporate world is starting to value your team-creation skills. So writes Fortune senior editor-at-large, Geoff Colvin, in a piece unveiling the magazine's 2013 Executive Dream Team, an all-star lineup of corporate leaders who are excellent at their jobs but who also know how to work well with others. "True team building, as distinct from hiring excellent performers, is an ability most managers lack," Colvin writes. "So if you don't like our Dream Team, that's great -- create your own and figure out why it's better."
And so, for the second year, Fortune invited readers to choose their own super C-suites in nine functions through an interactive tool called the Fortune Fantasy Sports Executive League. Each of the categories included the executive Fortune eventually would place on its roster; part of the strategy of the tool was to try to accurately guess which executives the editors of Fortune would pick for its 2013 roster. But in reality, most readers voted players for based on name recognition, brands they loved -- or they voted for their bosses.
In the chief executive officer slot, Fortune picked Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) CEO Carlos Brito for the 2013 Dream Team. Readers went for a name they know at a company they know (and, in many cases, we expect, love): Tim Cook of Apple (AAPL), who got 19% of the reader vote.
Fortune's chief financial officer pick, Visa's (V) Byron Pollitt, was also the reader's choice this year for the role. Pollitt trounced the competition in the popular vote -- 51% compared to second-place Safra Catz of Oracle (ORCL), who got 12% -- perhaps thanks to the significant number of teams created by readers with Visa corporate email accounts. (All's fair in business and corporate fantasy leagues.baseball.)
The entrepreneur in residence category, new to the team, was meant to acknowledge the increasingly important role of "change agents" or "acquihires" within corporations. Results surprised us. Fortune selected Tencent founder Pony Ma for his digital and international know-how. Telsa CEO Elon Musk was the readers' favorite, racking up 25% of the vote.
It makes sense that in choosing their chief information officer readers would gravitate toward Ben Fried; after all, what company holds more information than Google (GOOG)? Fried got 26% of the reader vote. Fortune went with Karenann Terrell, CIO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT).
Visa's marketing chief, Antonio Lucio was readers' top pick in the CMO category with 51% of the vote (like his colleague Pollitt). Keith Weed of Unilever (UL), was the editors' pick.
The chief operating officer race was a photo finish. Readers favored consumer-facing brands: McDonald's (MCD) COO Tim Fenton got 19% of the vote, just edging out NBC Universal's Steve Burke (CMCSA), who earned 14%. Fortune's editors smiled on Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Sam's Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores.
Tesla scored a second time in the designer/engineer category, with its lead designer Franz von Holzhausen winning 22% the vote. Fortune's pick, David Butler, vice president of innovation for Coca-Cola (KO), came in third place among readers.
A utility player should have a diverse background and a variety of skills; he or she should be able to counsel a finance chief or play corporate chess with a corporate strategist. Readers anointed Ford (F) CEO Alan Mulally, who also won our Businessperson of the Year Reader's Choice poll in 2010, with 17% of the reader vote. Fortune went with Dignity Health CEO Lloyd Dean.
Non-executive chairman was another tight race; Some 16% of readers backed A.G. Lafley, now back at the helm of P&G (PG). But Sam Palmisano, formerly of IBM (IBM) and the editors' pick for the role, was a mere 12 votes behind.