The 2015 edition of the magazine’s global CEO list saw Baksaas leap from the 32nd place he achieved in the ranking last year, largely as a result of the decision to change the ranking criteria to include environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues.
Baksaas left the state-controlled mobile phone company in August after a 13-year reign which saw him turn Norway’s national operator into an emerging markets champion with operations in 29 countries.
Telenor chairman Svein Aaser lauded him as “one of the most important industry leaders in Norway in modern times,” when his replacement was announced in May.
Aaser said in May that Baksaas’s decision to expand the company into Asia in 2003 had brought it 100m new subscribers, representing more than half the company’s total, and contributing 40 percent of its market capitalisation.
Scandinavian chief executives performed better in this year’s list than those of any other region, with Lars Rebien Sorensen, the Danish boss of Novo Nordisk, ranked the world’s best-performing company boss, and Michael Wolf, the chief executive of Swedbank, ranked in 9th place.
According to Harvard Business Review, the ranking was calculated by weighting environmental, social, and governance issues at 20 percent in the ranking, with the rest determined by the country-adjusted and industry-adjusted total shareholder return over each chief executive’s tenure up, until April 2015.
Without including environmental, social, and governance issues, Baksaas would have come in at 34th, and Lars Rebien Sorensen in 6th.
The aftermath of Baksaas’s tenure has seen growing questions over his commitment to rooting out bribery in the company's subsidiaries.
The company last month announced plans to sell its stake in Vimpelcom, the Russian mobile phone company, which has been shown to have bribed the daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator in order to win mobile licences.