Cisco's Chambers, Fed Chair Bernanke Among America's Best Leaders

Kleiner Perkins CEO John Doerr and Costco CEO Jim Sinegal also made the list.

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The United States is recovering from what some call the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, and while the government has played its role, leaders in the financial world have been pivotal in getting the nation's economy back on its feet. In this month's issue of U.S.News & World Report, the best of the best of these money-minded bosses are featured among the people listed as "America's Best Leaders" in 2009. These men have proved their worth, keeping their organizations afloat despite the recession that caused so many others to collapse. Four business leaders and the Federal Reserve chairman are among the most influential:

John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, showed his crisis-management skills by leading his company in a huge comeback from 2000, when his company went into a tailspin after the Internet bubble burst. He's been able to maintain control over the company for the past 14 years, he says, by constantly reinventing the way Cisco operates, by learning from his errors, and by focusing on the possibilities of education and the Internet. [Read more about John Chambers.]

When Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the recession was "very likely over" in September, the financial markets reached the year's high. Although those on America's Main Street criticize Bernanke for having too much power over the nation's money, his intervention has succeeded in averting an even greater financial catastrophe. [Read more about Ben Bernanke.]

Venture capitalist John Doerr built his success by investing in the public launches of Internet giants Amazon, Netscape, and Google, yet more recently as CEO of Kleiner Perkins, he launched a $500 million Green Growth Fund to support new clean-energy technologies. Part of the Obama administration's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, Doerr is now urging the government to step forward more aggressively on climate issues. [Read more on John Doerr.]

Environmentalist and Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard follows a different path when it comes to successful business practices, proving that high revenues and environmental responsibility can indeed go hand in hand. In the '90s, he put the entire company on the line when he insisted that the company use only organic cotton, rather than environmentally harmful industrially farmed cotton, in all of its products. The choice paid off, as Patagonia stands to have its best year yet in 2009. [Read more about Yvon Chouinard.]

With his emphasis on low prices and quality jobs, Costco CEO Jim Sinegal has made sure customers keep coming back to Costco, the third-largest retailer in the country. Unemployment rates continue to rise all around the United States, but Costco has not had any layoffs. Sinegal says his philosophy is simple: When you hire quality people and give them good wages, customers notice. [Read more about Jim Sinegal.]

The list was chosen by a panel of judges assembled by the Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership. [See the full list of America's Best Leaders.]