Updated August 13, 2015

23 Incredible CEO Statistics

Read more about Business

Being a CEO comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility and being in the public eye. Find out what it means.

CEOs, and the corporate world in general, are constantly under scrutiny. For things from financial scandals to concerns over a lack of diversity.

Let's paint a more accurate picture of what it's like to be a CEO. Here are statistics that shed light on who they really are.

CEOs by the Numbers

Let's start with the most basic information available on CEOs in America. How many are there?

From there, you can find out more. Things like age, height, and how long they typically spend on the job.

1. How many CEOs are there in the U.S.?
There were approximately 200,480 men and women serving in chief executive positions in the U.S. as of May 2022. In 2013, there were 248,760.

2. What's the average age for a CEO?
Wunderkinds like Mark Zuckerberg take control of their companies at an early age. But that's the exception rather than the rule.

In 2013, the average age for an incoming CEO was 53. Today in 2022, it's 59.

3. How do they measure up in terms of height?
In leadership roles, height can be an advantage. One study found that male CEOs topped out at an average height of 6 feet tall. This is 2.5 inches taller than the average American man.

4. What's the average tenure for CEOs?
In 2013, the average time as CEO of a Fortune 500 company was 9.7 years. However, in 2020, that number was 6.9 years.

Women and Minorities

Men primarily dominate the corporate world. However, women and other minorities continue to climb the career ladder. Despite the many obstacles they face.

Here is an idea of how much diversity there is among CEOs.

5. What percentage of Fortune 100 companies are headed by women?
The Fortune 100 is a select group that includes companies like Wal-Mart and Amazon. And a number of women have successfully joined its ranks. In all, women hold 8% of CEO positions at this level.

6. How many are in charge of Fortune 500 companies?
In 2014, there were 24 companies on the Fortune 500 list run by a woman. As of March 2022, there are 74 women employed as CEOs at the U.S.'s highest-grossing companies. This is an almost 300% increase in ten years.

7. How many make the Fortune 1000 list?
The number of women CEOs at the Fortune 1000 level was 27 in 2014. In September 2021, that number was 31.

8. What about S&P 500 companies?
Among the 500 companies included in the Standard & Poor's market index, just 32 feature a woman at the helm. That accounts for just 4.6% of all S&P 500 CEO positions.

9. How many CEOs belong to a racial or ethnic minority?
In 2021, there were six Black CEOs in Fortune and S&P 500 companies. Asians led 40 of the companies, and Latin/Hispanic CEOs led 20.

Education and Experience

Sometimes, all it takes to become the head of a successful company is a great idea. But often, it requires a solid education and years of professional experience. Let's look at the backgrounds of current CEOs that show several common threads.

10. How many CEOs have a bachelor's degree?
While some CEOs like Bill Gates managed to find success without finishing college, the majority have to work hard in school. 98% of CEOs globally hold a bachelor's degree, as do 100% of Fortune 100 CEOs.

11. How many have their MBA?
Surprisingly, most CEOs haven't earned an advanced degree in business. Of the top 1000 CEOs in the U.S., only 22.3% hold an MBA in 2022.

12. What's the common academic major for CEOs?
Another interesting trend among CEOs centers on what they study as undergrads. While 11% of S&P 500 CEOs majored in business administration, 33% opted to study engineering instead.

13. Which schools have the most CEO alumni?
The Ivy League has a reputation for producing the best and brightest grads. Harvard University leads the way with 69 degrees granted to CEOs. On the west coast, Stanford is number one with 22 degrees.

14. How common is military experience?
A military background is excellent for instilling discipline and a strong work ethic. Six heads of Fortune 100 companies have served in the Army, Navy, or Marines.

15. What kind of experience do CEOs typically have?
Running a company means being able to do more than just crunch numbers all day. Among Fortune 100 CEOs, 28% cite finance as their primary area of expertise.

CEO Financials

CEOs collect some pretty decent paychecks. Many of them are able to use their wealth to do good in their local communities and on a global level. At the top tier, chief executives are raking in millions of dollars a year in salary. Not to mention even more money in bonuses.

Some of the discovered numbers on how much they make are truly jaw-dropping.

16. What's the average salary for a CEO?
CEOs bring in a pretty penny, averaging $11.7 million in pay for 2013. That number has reached $20 million in 2021. That makes the $35,000 the average worker earns each year look like chump change.

17. Who's the highest-paid CEO in America?
Rankings can change from one year to the next. But in 2021, the nation's highest-paid CEO was Expedia Group head, Peter Kern. He pulled in an astonishing $296 million almost entirely in stock options.

18. How much do women CEOs earn compared to men?
The pay gap between men and women has narrowed. But female CEOs still earn about 75% of what their male counterparts receive to do the same job.

19. Which CEO has the highest net worth?
Tesla's Elon Musk has a net worth of $281.1 billion as of May 2022. His personal fortune grew tenfold within two years.

Odds and Ends

To finish up our study, we were curious about some statistics that didn't quite fit into any one box. Specifically, we were interested in how often CEOs change jobs, why they leave, and which states offer the best employment prospects.

20. What's the CEO turnover rate?
CEO turnover saw an increase of 41.5% in 2022, with 276 of CEO exits. The previous year had 195.

21. What's the most common reason for CEO transitions?
Overwhelmingly, retirement is the reason some 75% of CEOs leave their positions. Another 4% voluntarily opt to step down due to health reasons.

22. How many CEOs are active on social media?
62% of CEOs are present on social media, as of August 2020.

23. Which states have the highest CEO employment rates?
California has the highest overall employment for chief executives, with 33,930 positions. Florida comes in second, with 19,610.

Bottom Line

While there's the occasional fluke, becoming a CEO isn't something that happens overnight. It's not a low-stress job by any means.

Being able to maintain the pace and deal with the pressure of running a company is a test not everyone can pass. For those who do find success, the payoff can be substantial.

Sources and References

Rebecca Lake is a journalist at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Rebecca Lake at rebecca@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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