10 Surprising Brand Winners of 2011

Steve Jobs Avoided his Critics
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5. Steve Jobs Avoided His Critics

With the iPad 2 coming out in March and Apple surpassing Exxon Mobil as the world's most profitable company in August, Jobs was already the superhero of CEO world--even before his untimely death. It's a tragedy he died, of course, but as far as a personal brand goes, there's something to say for exiting the scene when you're at the top of your game.

Lesson: Timing is everything.