Jobs was second on the list and fellow business tycoon Jack Welch, who led General Electric for 20 years, came in fifth.
Political leaders took up the remaining places in the top ten.
India's independence hero Mahatma Gandhi was third and Mandela fourth. Former US presidents Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton occupied places six, eight, nine and 10th equal.
Clinton shared the last spot in the top ten with Napoleon Bonaparte and PwC said the responses might reveal conclusions about the current tough economic times.
"It may be that choices of leader are driven at least in part by the prevailing mood of the time, which could explain why so many CEOs chose leaders who were persistent in the face of adversity - as well as transformational leaders and leaders who did the 'right thing'," said the report.
After Thatcher, who died April 8 following a stroke, the most mentioned women were German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mother Theresa and author Ayn Rand.
PwC interviewed 1,330 chief executives across 68 countries between September and October.