Ballmer's numbers had been worse: For the 2011-2012 stretch, his approval rating was an even-more-dismal 35%.
In a hint of what might have been for Microsoft, Ford Motor CEO Alan Mulally, who was frequently cited as a top candidate as Ballmer's replacement, was ranked No. 2 by Glassdoor for the year, with an approval rating of 97%. Mulally took himself out of the running for Ballmer's job in January, but insider reports contested that, saying the Microsoft board had moved on to others.
Cook also out-scored technology CEOs such as eBay's John Donahoe (No. 19, at 91%), Amazon's Jeff Bezos (No. 32, 86%) and Yahoo's Marissa Mayer (No. 49, 79%).
Glassdoor asks employees, "Do you approve of the way your CEO is leading the company?" to calculate its rankings.
Dobroski argued that there was a correlation between Glassdoor's CEO approval rating and employee satisfaction. Highly ranked chief executives are by definition clear communicators who make their message and the company's mission plain to employees, positively affecting morale.
"In the 50 companies with the highest-rated CEOs, the average employee satisfaction score was 3.6," said Dobroski. "The average overall was 3.2. That's what happens when you have a leader who the troops are rallying behind."
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