The CEO who won the popular vote

  @FortuneMagazine August 29, 2013: 7:41 AM ET
GRE16 rich lesser

Boston Consulting Group CEO Rich Lesser in China earlier this year


When Rich Lesser took off for Beijing in May 2012, his plane wasn't the only thing up in the air. He was a candidate to become CEO of the Boston Consulting Group, and BCG's 750 or so partners (of which he was one) had until noon that day to cast their ballots for a new leader. Just hours before his flight touched down in China, a member of the flight crew delivered Lesser a note: He'd won, becoming the sixth chief executive in the firm's 50-year history.

It was a sweet victory for Lesser, a bespectacled engineer-turned-Harvard-MBA who joined the "Big Three" consultancy in 1988. But the election process also says a lot about what sets the firm's culture apart -- and makes it a perennial top five on our Best Companies list.

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