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Tuck School of Business Professor Ranks Year’s Best and Worst CEOs

For the fourth year running, a professor of strategy and leadership at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has released his picks for worst CEOs – adding a new twist this year by also sharing the five CEOs he deems the best of 2013.

Tuck Professor Sydney Finkelstein has become an expert on CEO failures. Since 2010, he has provided an annual roundup of the world’s five worst top executives, and he has also published a book on the same topic, Why Smart Executives Fail: And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes.

Last week, Finkelstein provided Fortune with a sneak peek at this year’s best and worst, which he compiles using a range of metrics that include stock price, cash position and market share. From an initial list of struggling – and, in this year’s case, prospering – companies, he takes a closer look to make sure that the blame – or praise – truly belongs to the CEO. “That removes companies that have not done well because the whole industry struggled or just because of bad luck,” he told Fortune, adding that he then looks at each CEO’s strategic decisions to arrive at his final rankings.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Blackberry’s Thorsten Heins have the dubious honor of being among the list of failures for 2013. J.C. Penney’s Ron Johnson and Sears Holdings’ Eddie Lampert were also deemed losers. But title of top flop CEO this year goes to the leader of Brazilian mining firm EBX/OGX/OSX, Eike Batista.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos topped Finkelstein’s debut “Best of” ranking. Explaining his pick, the professor praised the online marketplace founder’s long-term vision and focus on customers. “Coming up with the drone story the day before Cyber Monday, how good is that?” he told Fortune. “And he is attracting the best MBA candidates, even though there’s nothing inherently sexy about the core of what they do.” Also on the list of best CEOs for 2013 were Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda, Chinese firm Tencent’s Pony Ma, Michael Kors CEO John Idol and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Read the Fortune article on Finkelstein’s year-end rankings.