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Abbott's White, McDonald's Skinner make Barron's top 30 CEOs worldwide

Miles White, chairman of the Board and CEO of Abbott.

Two Chicago area CEOs – Miles White at Abbott Laboratories and Jim Skinner at McDonald’s – are among 30 of the world’s best company leaders, according to Barron’s annual list.

Former Chicagoan Jamie Dimon of New York-based JPMorgan Chase bank and the CEOs of Midwestern stalwarts Ford Motor Co., Alan Mulally, and Anheuser-Busch, Carlos Brito, also scored among the 18 slots filled by U.S. corporate chiefs. Of the others, seven are from Europe, three from Asia and one each from Canada and Australia.

The Barron’s staff selected the 30 leaders based on their reporting expertise; insights from analysts, investors and other business leaders, and to some extent, the company’s stock-price performance. The list, appearing in Monday’s editions, is not ranked.

Skinner, 67, who announced last week that he will retire earlier than expected on June 30, won “a Big Mac-sized round of applause” for keeping McDonald’s on a fast-growth track, expanding the menus to include salads and smaller food portions and spiffing up newly remodeled restaurants with big-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and colorful, modern decor in the playrooms. McDonald’s annualized profit has soared 21 percent during Skinner’s CEO tenure and 16.6 percent in the past five years.

White garnered acclaim for bold decisions, including smart takeovers, successful product introductions and plans to split the company into separate pharmaceutical and medical-products businesses later this year. Barron’s gave White, 57, kudos for refusing a transfer to Japan early in his career so his wife could open a local bookstore – turning a decision in favor of his family into a long-term business win. Abbott’s annual return is up 4.6 percent during White’s tenure, and profits have grown 13 percent on a five-year basis. He became CEO in 1998 and chairman in 1999.

White is an investor in Wrapports, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times.

A host of American online and technology company CEOs made the list, including Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos; Priceline.com’s Jeffrey Boyd; Oracle’s Larry Ellison; Intel’s Paul Otellini, and EMC’s Joe Tucci.