In a tribute to his legendary charisma and for giving us some of the most innovative products of our times, Fortune Magazine has named Apple bossman Steve Jobs as CEO of the Decade, saying that his success in reordering four industries – computers, music, movies and mobile phones -was “unheard of.”

Steve Jobs

The report also said, “It’s often noted that he’s a showman, a born salesman, a magician who creates a famed reality-distortion field, a tyrannical perfectionist. It’s totally accurate, of course, and the descriptions contribute to his legend.”

Jobs co-founded Apple and then faced the ignominy of being ousted from his own company in 1985 after disagreements with then CEO John Sculley and the Apple board.

He bought Pixar from George Lucas in 1986 and churned out movies like Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and WALL-E, the latter four winning Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film. Twenty years later, he sold Pixar to Disney for $7.5 billion, making him Disney’s largest shareholder.

Meanwhile, after returning to the helm at Apple in 1997, he blazed a trail that few can match, steering Apple to the top position in three separate industries: music, movies, and mobile phones, bringing us products like iTunes, iPod, Apple TV and the iPhone, besides redefining the iMac and MacBook. It took him several years to get the company back in shape, including a brush with bankruptcy. Apple now has close to 34,000 employees and is valued at over $170 billion.

It all seems a day’s work for a man who has survived pancreatic cancer and a liver transplant !! 😀

The report suggests that Apple’s inevitable future after Jobs will be strong, because he has recruited people who have been “trained to think like Steve.” Incidentally, I happened to read a PC World article (Could Steve Jobs, “CEO of the Decade,” Run Your Company? ) that shed a slightly different perspective on this issue. Do check it out.

Here’s also a pretty nice graphic that shows an interactive timeline highlighting some of Jobs’ hits and misses over the past decade. Click on it and then move the Apple to scroll.

Steve Jobs timeline