9. Sam Palmisano
Chairman and CEO
Say it ain't so, Sam. Palmisano hands over the CEO reins effective Jan. 1, 2012, but remains as chairman. He provided a decade of masterful management that has made IBM a favorite of both customers and Wall Street. The company recorded 32 quarters of earnings per share growth and gained a foothold in emerging global markets and emerging technologies such as business analytics. File this one under a tough act to follow for Ginni Rometty, who replaces Palmisano.