Various roads to the CEO chair

People take various paths to get to the CEO chair, resulting from a mix of education, experience, and other factors. recently published the following infographic – The Long Road to Becoming CEO – that sketches the demographics of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 CEOs. The variety of study and experience depicted speaks to the uniqueness of the CEO role: As I’ve mentioned before, the CEO position is so different that few people are prepared for it, no matter how well they’ve performed in other executive roles. I started this blog to help CEOs address this challenge.

One interesting fact to me as a former engineer is that the most common field of study for S&P 500 CEOs is engineering at 20% (yet the most common functions they come from are finance, operations, marketing, and sales). I recently discussed key considerations for engineers who want to become founders and CEOs.



  1. Interesting info. Reminded me of a study I read about recently by Berkeley sociologist Neil Fligstein detailing which departments generated the most CEOs per decade from 1900 to 1980, explaining the shift from inventors/entrepreneurs, to manufacturing, to sales/ marketing, and eventually finance. It’s mentioned in chapter three of this book.



  1. Portrait of the CEO Class of 2012 (Infographic) | The American CEO - […] Various roads to the CEO chair ( and DOMO) […]

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