2014 rank: 40
By Al Golin, founder & chairman, Golin
According to the CEO of one of the top 50 companies in the world, "One of the key attributes of a great CEO is to embrace change."
Fred Cook, CEO of Golin, certainly practices that – big time. And, being based in the Windy City, I also love the quote from famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, who said, "Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood." Fred’s bold style is a real example of that quote, too.
Since becoming CEO of the firm in 2006, Fred has grown the agency to become one of the top 10 globally – with 50 offices throughout the world. He has counseled some of the world’s most iconic leaders, such as Apple’s Steve Jobs, Disney’s Michael Eisner, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
He completely redesigned the agency structure by creating The Bridge, a global network of holistic engagement centers to help companies infuse their brands and products into the news and conversation cycles of the hour – a breakthrough in today’s complex media environment.
His new book, Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO, outlines Fred’s life, illustrating a path to the top that defies conventional wisdom. Each chapter features a bold lesson from his unorthodox early career, reinforced with insights from his later efforts working with major companies.