Who are these people? Take a short quiz

Do you know who these people are?  I consider myself fairly well-read about business, but (without getting help) I could only identify the blue ones.

  1. Michael T. Duke
  2. Rex W. Tillerson
  3. John S. Watson
  4. James J. Mulva
  5. Michael J. Williams
  6. Jeffrey R. Immelt
  7. Warren E. Buffett
  8. Daniel F. Akerson
  9. Brian T. Moynihan
  10. Alan R. Mulally
  11. Meg Whitman
  12. Randall L. Stephenson
  13. James Dimon
  14. Vikram S. Pandit
  15. John H. Hammergren
  16. Ivan G. Seidenberg
  17. Robert H. Benmosche
  18. Samuel J. Palmisano
  19. George S. Barrett
  20. Charles E. Haldeman Jr.

How about this list?  Again, the ones I knew are highlighted in blue:

  1. Meg Whitman
  2. Sam Palmisano
  3. Michael Dell
  4. Steve Ballmer
  5. Tim Cook
  6. John Chambers
  7. Paul Otellini
  8. Greg Brown / Sanjay Jha
  9. Larry Ellison
  10. Larry Page

The first list shows the CEOs of the top 20 Fortune 500 companies.

The second list shows the CEOs of the ten largest U.S.-based technology companies (ranked by 2009 revenue).

I recognized 80% of the second list, but only 25% of the first list.  Why is that?  Are Celebrity CEOs more prevalent in the technology industry?  Are there other factors involved?

I’ll explore possible explanations in my next post.

For now… I’ll leave you with this thought:

Celebrity CEOs seem to be more common for technology companies.


Here are the complete lists, with company names.

  1. Michael T. Duke – WalMart
  2. Rex W. Tillerson – Exxon Mobil
  3. John S. Watson – Chevron
  4. James J. Mulva – Conoco Philips
  5. Michael J. Williams – Fannie Mae
  6. Jeffrey R. Immelt – GE
  7. Warren E. Buffett – Berkshire Hathaway
  8. Daniel F. Akerson – General Motors
  9. Brian T. Moynihan – Bank of America
  10. Alan R. Mulally – Ford
  11. Meg Whitman – Hewlett Packard
  12. Randall L. Stephenson – AT&T
  13. James Dimon – J.P. Morgan Chase
  14. Vikram S. Pandit – Citibank
  15. John H. Hammergren – McKesson
  16. Ivan G. Seidenberg – Verizon
  17. Robert H. Benmosche – AIG
  18. Samuel J. Palmisano – IBM
  19. George S. Barrett – Cardinal Health
  20. Charles E. Haldeman Jr. – Freddie Mac


  1. Meg Whitman – Hewlett Packard
  2. Sam Palmisano – IBM
  3. Michael Dell – Dell
  4. Steve Ballmer – Microsoft
  5. Tim Cook  – Apple
  6. John Chambers – Cisco
  7. Paul Otellini – Intel
  8. Greg Brown / Sanjay Jha – Motorola
  9. Larry Ellison – Oracle
  10. Larry Page – Google
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