Cook came in nine slots ahead of new YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki, though both lagged behind Seattle-based Amazon's Jeff Bezos, who was 10th. The rankings were compiled by Fortune editor Geoff Colvin, who praised the "quiet aplomb" with which Cook has gone about succeeding Steve Jobs.
"Following Steve Jobs has arguably been the toughest corporate leadership assignment in decades, yet Cook has carried it off with mostly quiet aplomb," Colvin wrote. "In two-and-a-half years he has kept the parade of winning new products marching (the Retina display, new operating systems, the iPhone 5), and he is bringing in Burberry's savior, Angela Ahrendts, to run Apple's retail stores. That's thinking different."
Since taking the top job in 2011 following Jobs's resignation, Cook has led Apple with what some have called a "methodical, no-nonsense style." Apple is reportedly less "crazy" and "draconian" than it was under Jobs, but Cook has shown a willingness to wield the ax when necessary -- longtime Jobs confidant and former iOS chief Scott Forstall was famously fired after refusing to apologize for the calamitous introduction of Apple Maps.
Many armchair analysts have called for Cook's head amid a plummeting stock price and perceived lack of innovation, but a change is highly unlikely. Cook was hand-picked by Jobs and -- despite the stock trouble -- has presided over the most prosperous period in Apple's history.