Assessing the performance of any top executive usually begins with his or her unit’s financial and operating metrics and progress made against strategy. But the first measure does not give any indication of key management traits, and the second is often a conjured set of data carefully designed to present results in the best possible light.

This neither helps to uncover what the executive is doing which might help nor identifies what is being determined that might hurt the organisation in the long term. To measure a top executive’s performance accurately, it is essential to go into the field and witness him or her and colleagues at work, at first hand.

So, the Daily Statesman went out to the public using the following scorecard, which corresponds to what we believe are the key responsibilities of a chief executive officer. With the help of our research assistants, we asked each of the 1,500 respondents to fill out the scorecard covering six areas, giving these public-sector top executives grades from A to F in each category.

We collated the input from the respondents and assessed the performance of a list of leading CEOs according to the criteria below:

• How satisfied are you with the services provided by the organisation led by this chief executive officer?

• Strategy development

• Customer service/satisfaction

• Innovation

• Leadership skills

• Succession planning/internal talent development

• Listening skills

1. Akwasi Agyeman, Ghana Tourism Authority

There is no debate when it comes to who should be the best CEO or managing director for the year under review. The man who was the talk of town in December is the chief executive of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman.

His determination to see that thousands of black people living outside the continent return to Africa produced the highly successful “Year of Return” brand.

Mr Agyeman was the driving force behind the series of events in 2019 that connected Africa to the African diaspora perhaps more cleverly than any other previous initiative, positioning Ghana as the gateway through which to return.

2. Kingsley Agyemang, Scholarships Secretariat

Having been picked as the third most hard-working chief executive in 2019, the head of the Scholarships Secretariat set out in 2019 to do more to justify why he was adjudged so notable. He has proved himself, without question, by rolling out cutting-edge policies for the Secretariat, which hitherto was a dormant agency of government.

He also succeeded in introducing major reforms, decentralising the awarding of scholarships, which have become more accessible to ordinary Ghanaians by way of new structures at the district level. Mr Agyemang also rolled out the President’s Special Initiative in Advanced Study of the French language to all language institutions in Ghana, scholarships for farmers (the first venture of its kind) and is currently working on digitising the Secretariat’s operations.

3. Ibrahim Anyars, Nation Builders Corps

Set up by the New Patriotic Party government to address graduate unemployment to solve social problems, the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) programme, led by Ibrahim Anyars, has really lived up to expectations.

Dr Anyars is one of the appointees of this present government whose character and relationship with the masses has remained positive. He lives the true meaning of the concept of leadership.

It is therefore not surprising that on his watch as chief executive at NaBCo, the programme has made significant strides. Regardless of the obstacles that emerged – especially when it came to allowance arrears – the problem was quickly rectified.

4. Yofi Grant, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre

As the chief executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre under the Office of the President, Yofi Grant has a singular vision to make Ghana the “best place to invest and do business in Africa”. His commitment to this goal has paid off, with Ghana now the largest recipient of foreign direct investment in West Africa.

Growing investor confidence has led to a host of multinational companies looking to establish operations in this country. From global vehicle manufacturing companies such as Volkswagen, Sinotruk, Nissan, Renault and Suzuki; to oil giants such as Aker Energy of Norway and ExxonMobil of the United States; to the tech giant Google – all roads are leading to Ghana.

The International Monetary Fund last year projected that Ghana would be the fastest-growing economy in the world, with a projected GDP growth rate of 8.8 per cent. This stems from macroeconomic indices pointing in the right direction. Many of those the Daily Statesman spoke to believe that the GIPC head has played a significant role in getting Ghana this far and he deserves to be in the top ten.

5. Kwasi Agyemang Busia, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority

Since his appointment as the head of the DVLA, Mr Busia has initiated a series of pragmatic steps to digitise the Authority’s operations, including converting manual vehicle registration documents into electronic formats, in line with reforms at the Authority.

The institution has so far captured data from 1995 to 2016 on the electronic platform in a drive to enhance vehicle information security and make searches stress free.

Mr Busia was adjudged the best public-sector CEO in 2018 at the fourth Ghana CEO Excellence and Awards Summit for the reforms he had brought to the DVLA by applying people, process and technology. Nonetheless, we believe he still deserves to be counted among the top CEOs for his continuous resolve to enhance operations at the Authority.

6. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Ghana Cocoa Board

The COCOBOD chief executive greatly advanced the interests of Ghana’s cocoa farmers in 2019. He also pursued many productivity enhancement initiatives to increase yield and improve the living conditions of cocoa farmers.

Mr Boahen Aidoo’s efforts to promote cocoa production through sustainable programmes to guarantee better, decent prices for the Ghanaian farmer culminated in a landmark decision by COCOBOD.

He led COCOBOD, with the Conseil Café Cacao, its counterpart in Côte d’Ivoire, to strike a cocoa “living income differential” (LID) of $400 per tonne and a floor price of $2,600 per tonne. It was one of the boldest gestures in business last year, and an indication of Mr Boahen Aidoo’s passion for improving the living standards and livelihoods of Ghana and Ivorian cocoa farmers.

7. Mawusi Nudekor Awity, National Vocational Training Institute

With a mission to provide demand-driven employment-worthy skills and enhance the income-generating capacities of basic school and secondary school leavers by employing competency-based apprenticeship, master craftsmanship, testing and career development, the NVTI, under the leadership of Mrs Awity, has undergone steady transformation.

Since Mrs Awity took over, a great deal of attention has been shifted to the institute, with more opportunities being given to girls to take vocational and technical education seriously.

8. David Asante, Ghana Publishing Company

Last year, the managing director of the Ghana Publishing Company was named among the Top 50 CEOs in the country by Avance Media.

David Asante, since his appointment in 2017, has brought huge change to the company.

The company confidence that seemed lost has returned. Ghana Publishing has digitised its operations. It has become such a player in the industry that it was awarded 20 per cent of the ballot printing job for the local government elections on December 17 last year.

An entity that couldn’t afford a few thousand cedis to pay salaries is beginning to compete with leading private firms, winning million-cedi jobs on merit. Without government assistance, it has established a new production unit housing expensive modern printers, including five Speedmaster colour machines, and is clearly ready to compete and recover its lost glory.

Mr Asante, young as he is, has justified his appointment to high office.

9. Richard Dombo, Ghana Railway Development Authority

After decades of neglect, much of Ghana’s rail network had fallen into disuse and was in need of repair … until President Akufo-Addo, after his election in 2016, gave firm assurances that he would revive the country’s railway sector.

Today, the network is back on track and running.

Two heads, it is said, are better than one, and the Minister for Railways, we believe, did not achieve this feat on his own. Mention must be made of the GRDA chief executive, Richard Dombo, who has worked, mostly behind the scenes, to achieve the breakthrough.

The African Development Bank has now thrown its weight behind a concession agreement for construction of a high-speed railway in Accra. The Skytrain project, involving an investment of US$2.6 billion, is a high-capacity public transport system that will be completely automated and cost-efficient, using pneumatic propulsion technology. The system will transport more than 380,000 passengers annually and create about 5,000 jobs during its implementation phase.

10. Benonita Bismarck, Ghana Shippers’ Authority

Ms Bismarck was adjudged the outstanding Woman CEO of the Year in 2018 and our respondents felt she still deserved to be among the top ten for the year 2019.

Judging by her excellence work, including evidence of her corporate vision and strategic positioning of Ghana’s shipping industry at a very competitive level, she more than deserves to be considered for 2019.

Under her leadership, the GSA led a nationwide sensitisation campaign, in collaboration with other stakeholders, educating shippers on the implementation of the paperless ports system and raising awareness of ways to avoid demurrage charges.

Among other laudable initiatives, she led the GSA to sign a memorandum of understanding between Ghana and a number of other African countries.