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The Most Popular CEO in America Is...Who?

By Claire Gordon

His popular image is antisocial, cold, calculating, and charmless. He's faced scores of lawsuits, accusing him of poaching ideas and tricking investors. In a 2010 Oscar-winning movie, he was the inspiration for an entirely new kind of nebbishy villain. But in addition to being the richest American under 30, Mark Zuckerberg is also the country's most beloved chief executive.

At least according to The site collects company reviews, and says that Zuckerberg, 28, received a 99 percent approval from the nearly 400 Facebook employees who chose to rate him. That's a 14-points jump from last year.

Yet in many ways, it's been a rough year for Zuckerberg. He was widely charged with bungling his company's initial public offering last May, as the value of its shares fell from $38 to around $25 within a month. The price plunge sparked over 50 investor lawsuits, reports Reuters, and a class action suit is currently in the works.

But Zuckerberg is clearly doing something right, and one of those things is knowing what he's done wrong. According to a New York Times profile last year, Zuckerberg has deftly surrounded himself with people who have the skills that he lacks. His advisers include Bill Gates, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, Washington Post chairman and CEO Donald Graham, and his No. 2 at Facebook and expert "leaner," Sheryl Sandberg.

Employees praise Facebook's 'startup' culture. Despite recently celebrating its ninth birthday, making Facebook an old stalwart of Silicon Valley, the company has managed to largely maintain its startup culture, according to employee reviews on Engineers rave about the freedom they're given, their power to make an individual impact, the whiplash pace of innovation, as well as the company's famously fun-time atmosphere.

"An open community from Zuck on down," one Facebook employee wrote on "Mutual trust companywide and sense of community and drive, instilled by our CEO, who we all truly respect."

The boss has vision. And over the last year, the Zuck has proven his ability to lead. According to reports, he negotiated the purchase of the photo app Instragram largely on his lonesome. And while the $1 billion price tag -- for a company that had no revenue -- raised at least a billion eyebrows, there seemed to be an underlying faith that Zuckerberg could see potential where others could not. His board, The New York Times reported, put up no resistance to the deal.

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