Showing discipline and a desire to serve, Bill English has once again topped the CEO charts, reports Bill Bennett

It wasn't always that way, but CEO comments underline English earned their respect over the years by understanding how the economy works then pushing the levers to keep it firing.

He gets praise for strategy, focus and execution.

Many mention his understanding, his diligence and the way he steered New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis and the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes. Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns calls English "a fantastic Minister of Finance".

Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe neatly sums up what many other feel saying English has "understanding of economics, NZ government practices and the public service, a capacity for hard work and the desire to serve".

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Christopher Luxon of Air New Zealand says: "(English has) tremendous consistency and is a disciplined thinker. He really pushes officials across the Government portfolios to think differently and rigorously about the challenges. He understands the need to invest in solving social issues that ultimately have economic consequences".

(English has) tremendous consistency and is a disciplined thinker. He really pushes officials across the government portfolios to think differently and rigorously about the challenges. He understands the need to invest in solving social issues that ultimately have economic consequences. Finance Minister Bill English ranks as the most impressive cabinet minister outperforming Prime Minister John Key.

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Consistency is a recurring theme. John Roberts of Global Strategic Services uses the word while calling English a great asset to the country and to the National Party. He also says English is "a very solid and professional finance minister". Meanwhile John Williamson from Hellaby calls English "Mr Consistent". He says English is prepared to make the tough decisions and "calls a spade a spade".

IAG's Jack Johnson says English understands global capital markets and displays "decisiveness, pragmatism and approachability".

Alison Paterson from Vector describes him as "logical, measured and firm".

It took a decade, but CEOs have now forgiven English for the disastrous 2002 election result -- National's worst electoral defeat ever. Even his replacement as party leader, Don Brash, now the chair of ICBC NZ has positive words.

He says: "He has a strong understanding of how the economy works, and of both fiscal and monetary policy".

Not being prime minister has its advantage, says John Barnett of South Pacific Pictures. It means he can "present and deliver the hard news". Barnett also says English listens to people.

In a similar vein Murray Selby from Honda says English "is his own man".

Other CEOs mentioned that English's lack of prime ministerial ambitions and willingness to not steal the PM's limelight allow him to focus on the Finance portfolio.

Cathy Quin from Minter Ellison Rudd Watts says: "He is smart, straightforward and has massive support across business and in government.

"People trust Bill English to do what he thinks is in New Zealand's best interest based on considered thought and experience.

"He is respected for among other things, not being a person to engage in petty politics or cheap tactics".

The praise isn't entirely uncritical. Kiwi Income Property Trust chief executive Chris Gudgeon says: "He is diligent. However, he has shown that he is willing to tolerate inequity in our tax system to meet his fiscal objectives.

"Case in point is that our tax system ignores the cost of earthquake strengthening when determining taxable income, as if the private sector is facing no such cost".

See video: Mood of the Boardroom 2015

NZ's top business leaders gathered in Auckland today, to discuss the latest Mood of the Boardroom survey. Anne Gibson talks to some of those attending.