CEO Statistics
Statistic Verification
Source: Forbes, Emerging Culture, Worldwide Success
Research Date: March 11th, 2015

CEOs are often looked at as giants, larger than life, and evied. What makes them so special? Was it hard work or genetics that made them so successful? Here's a breakdown of CEO characterisitcs.

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Number of CEO’s (Census Bureau)Number
General and Operations Managers1,733,100
Chief Executives400,400
CEO Annual SalaryPercent
Under $100,0007 %
$100,000 – $250,00043 %
$250,000 – $500,00027 %
$500,000 – $750,0009 %
$750,000 – $1,000,0005 %
$1,000,000 – $3,000,0006 %
Over $3,000,0002 %
Political Affiliation 
Republican52 %
Independent17 %
Democrat / Libertarian2 %
Declined29 %
Motivation 
Cited financial independence30 %
Cited demand for specific product of service24 %
Education 
Bachelors Degree47 %
Masters Degree25 %
Ph.D2 %
Experience 
Have started other companies57 %
Intend to start another company in the future47 %
Net Worth 
Under $1,000,00012 %
to $4.9 Million50 %
to $9.9 Million21 %
to $24.9 Million11 %
to $49.9 Million4 %
Over $50 Million2 %
Statistics for Fortune 500 CEO’s 
Percent of CEO’s appointed internally66 %
Average years at a company before appointed to a CEO position12.8
Median age for a S&P 500 CEO55
Average Height6’0″
Number of Fortune 500 companies run by women12
Statistics for Forbes 500 CEO’s Shareholder Return
Type of DegreeNumber of CEO’s*Median Total Return
No Advanced Degree16316 %
Doctorate2415.5 %
Master’s Degree3715.3 %
M.B.A.16515.2 %
Law Degree5113.9 %
*Includes Forbes 500s CEOs for whom all data is available. Only degrees with 20 or more CEOs are counted. Median total return to shareholders is annualized over the CEOs’ tenure. Source: FT Interactive via FactSet Research Systems
Business SchoolNumber of CEO’s*Median Total Return
University of Chicago524 %
University of Pennsylvania722.9 %
Stanford University1120.6 %
Northwestern Universtiy820 %
Harvard University3810.6 %
Columbia University113.5 %
*Includes Forbes 500s CEOs for whom all data is available. Table includes schools that produced five or more CEOs. Median total return to shareholders is annualized over the CEOs’ tenure. Source: FT Interactive via FactSet Research Systems

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