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Fortune 100 CEO Statistics and Demographics


The Road To Becoming The Big Wheel

The big wheel, head honcho, skipper, chief, the CO. It’s all the same. The buck stops with you. Maybe you aren’t the Larry Ellison type with a weakness for insanely expensive toys, or the modest master of Omaha, but who are you? The list of Fortune 100 CEOs gives some pretty good insights into who the top execs in the country are and how they got there. Want to see if you match the profile?

Common Race

You’re a white guy. Not a surprising revelation but the sheer dominance is surprising after decades of programs and progress at leveling the field. If you are among the ranks of the Fortune 100 CEOs then the odds are 92% that you are white, and 94% that you are a guy. Indra Nooyi, the Female Indian-American CEO of PepsiCo is nearly the sole symbol of diversity in this club.

Generational Differences

You are probably a boomer. CEOs born between 1946 and 1964 dominate the boardrooms of Fortune 100 companies with only a handful of exceptions. Warren Buffett, at 83, narrowly beats out Rupert Murdoch as the senior statesman of this elite group. An outstanding accomplishment for both men.


Your salary last year was around 10 million. Warren Buffett breaks the mold again by taking home only $100,000 while ranking as the wealthiest of this wealthy crowd with a net worth of $50 billion. New Apple CEO Tim Cook turned heads with a $380 million pay package in 2011 but has come back to earth with a little over $4 million in earnings in 2012.

Educational Background

Congratulations graduate. You got your degree. At least a bachelors. 100% of Fortune 100 CEOs earned either a BSc or a BA. There is also a 65% chance you went on to a graduate degree. Harvard was most likely your alma matter but Cornell and Wharton were top picks as well. In all there were 41 different institutions that had what it took to give you your head start up the corporate ladder.

You probably didn’t start in the mail room. It’s a great Hollywood story but it’s not the typical track to the big office. There is a good chance that you bounced around in all kinds of capacities in the company but you probably hit your stride working in finance or operations. Either that or the head hunters came calling and poached you over from a top job at another company.

You probably didn’t serve in the military. Only 6% of Fortune 100 CEOs served in the armed forces. Compare that to 20% of house and senate representatives on Capitol hill. It could be that like Dick Cheney, in the 1960s you had priorities other than military service. So that’s you, Mr. CEO.

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