Microsoft's Bill Gates has been named the world's most admired chief executive - even though he isn't a CEO!

The true winner of that badge of honour should perhaps devolve to the second place name on the list, which is, of course, Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

As if being CEO of one company isn't enough, Jobs is also CEO of world-class animation studio, Pixar, with a chain of global box office successes under his belt.

Gates is no longer CEO of Microsoft. He is now that company's chairman and chief software architect. Yet the survey, conducted by Burson-Marsteller with the "Economist Intelligence Unit" (EIU) declares its award is for: "2005 World's Most Admired Chief Executives".

It's an inconsistent list. Microsoft's actual CEO Steve Ballmer doesn't make the cut. Also on the list is Michael Dell. Dell is no longer CEO of the company he founded.

"Despite the continuing controversy surrounding today's corporate executives, leadership still shapes a company's destiny," the survey says.

Even if the survey aims to recognize the spiritual leaders of the companies for the respect they have won across the planet, Gates may be a little saddened that Jobs continues snapping at his heels, many years after Microsoft became the de facto standard OS for computing.