June 16, 2024

Doug McMillon shaking hands with Satya Nadella, both are standing behind a backdrop in front of the Walmart and Microsoft logos

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon (L) and Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella during CES 2024 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas on January 9, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

It seems all companies want in on generative artificial intelligence, so it’s no surprise that the man leading a company at the front of the race is most admired by his peers.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella came out on top as the most admired Fortune 500 CEO in an annual survey of Fortune 500 CEOs. Microsoft stock was the second-most likely the chief executives would invest in behind Nvidia, which counts the tech giant as one of its top customers.

JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon was the second most-admired Fortune 500 CEO, followed by Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon.

While AI dominates conversation in the business world, the survey found 22% of chief executives said tech transformation was one of their main concerns. Over 40% of chief executives said their companies found generative AI most useful for customer service and interaction, as well as finance and back office work. Less so for software coding, which 16% of CEOs said generative AI was helpful for, as well as sales and marketing, and research and development.

On the economy, 28% said they think the U.S. is on the way to a recession in the next 12 months, and almost 70% said they think the Federal Reserve will lower interest rates before the end of the year. Almost half of CEOs predict the next recession will come in 2026 or later.

In the workplace, 54% of chief executives expect their headcount to grow this year, while 18% expect to reduce headcount. More than half of Fortune 500 CEOs expect employees to work in the office three days a week, while 26% expect four to five days, and only 7% expect no days in-office.

Almost all chief executives said the 2024 presidential election will affect their business.

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