10. Samuel J. Palmisano
10. Samuel J. Palmisano
Chairman and CEO, IBM

IBM recently announced that Palmisano will step down at the end of the year, handing over the reins to longtime senior executive Ginni Rometty. Palmisano leaves on a high note: This fall, IBM's market cap briefly exceeded that of Microsoft's, making IBM the world's second-most-valuable tech company after Apple. The company's shares have tripled since he took over from Louis Gerstner in 2001, and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway this year accumulated a 5.5% stake in IBM.


By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor - Last updated November 17 2011: 5:58 PM ET