23 Incredible CEO Statistics (2023)

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

23 Incredible CEO Statistics (1)
  • CEOs by the Numbers
  • Women and Minorities
  • Education and Experience
  • CEO Financials
  • Odds and Ends

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Read more: Women in Business Statistics

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.

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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.

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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 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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What are CEOs worried about in 2023? ›

US CEOs and CEOs globally: A recession/economic downturn ranks as their #1 external concern for 2023. Recession worries intensify: In last year's survey, recession ranked 6th for both groups.

What are the top CEO priorities for 2023? ›

The top 3 priorities for CEOs in 2023 [New report]
  • Workforce volatility.
  • Infrastructure to execute.
  • Opportunity in the aftermath.
Apr 10, 2023

What is the success rate of CEOs? ›

The study, which analyzed CEO successions at the world's largest 2,500 public companies over the past 19 years reports that while the median tenure of a CEO has been five years, 19 percent of all CEOs remain in position for 10 or more years, consistently, over the time period analyzed.

How many Fortune 500 CEOs are minorities? ›

Fortune 500 minority CEOs and board members

More specifically, 11.8% of board seats in 2020 went to minority men, and 5.7% went to minority women. The number of Black CEOs is at an all-time high, per the 2022 Fortune 500 rankings, totaling to six Black chief executives (just over 1% of the companies in the list).

What will be the major risks in upcoming year 2023? ›

Cybersecurity, IT governance, and data security will be the number one risk in 2023. Ransomware has been a significant threat in 2022, but the nature of cyberattacks is changing. Relatively new hackers now take advantage of sophisticated ransomware as an opportunity.

How bad is the 2023 recession going to be? ›

Since then, the World Bank has predicted a global recession for 2023, anticipating GDP growth of 1.7%, the slowest pace outside the 2009 and 2020 recessions since 1993. This outlook will provide the backdrop for the Forum's Annual Meeting that is taking place 16-20 January 2023 in Davos, Switzerland.

What are the 3 things a CEO should know? ›

Recommendation. Trey Taylor advises CEOs to focus on three things – culture, talent and numbers. All CEOs must develop knowledge of their values and strengths, then embed those values in their organization to shape a culture with an unwavering commitment to core values.

What are the four things that set successful CEOs apart? ›

Findings from a database of 17,000 C-suite assessments reveal that successful CEOs demonstrate four specific behaviors that prove critical to their performance: They're decisive, they engage for impact, they adapt proactively, and they deliver reliably. The chief executive role is a tough one to fill.

What do CEOs want the most? ›

They want to differentiate their organization in the market. They want to produce in the most efficient and effective way possible. They want to magnetize the very best talent.

What do 90% of CEOs believe? ›

Half of them are already planning for layoffs. A recession is on the way and don't expect it to be short and mild, according to America's CEOs.

What age do most CEOs retire? ›

Do CEOs have a shelf life? Some companies appear to believe so; a majority of firms in the S&P 1500, and more than a third of S&P 500 firms, have policies in place that mandate the retirement of their CEOs at age 65, including General Electric, Altria, ExxonMobil, and Intel.

How many hours does a successful CEO work? ›

On average, CEOs work 39 hours per work week.

During this time, they conduct meetings, spend time with employees, with clients, and do many other different tasks. CEOs may travel for their positions, and during this time, they make more than their average work week.

What percent of CEOs are female? ›

Now, for the first time in the Fortune 500 list's 68-year history, more than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women. The Jan. 1, 2023 start dates of five new Fortune 500 chief executives brought the number of female CEOs up to 53, pushing the tally over the long-awaited threshold.

Who is the youngest black CEO? ›

Well, 6-year-old entrepreneur Lily Adeleye is doing all that and more as she has become the youngest Black CEO of a major company and a deal with Walmart.

What is the current world crisis 2023? ›

Most respondents to the 2022-2023 Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS) chose “Energy supply crisis”; “Cost-of-living crisis”; “Rising inflation”; “Food supply crisis” and “Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure” as among the top risks for 2023 with the greatest potential impact on a global scale (Figure 1.1).

What to expect financially in 2023? ›

We expect a U.S. recession in the first half of 2023, as well as a continued global economic slowdown, as last year's hawkish monetary policy and money growth slowdown works with a lag. That should drive down corporate earnings growth and create important inflection points for investors over the next nine to 12 months.

What is the world trend in 2023? ›

Green hydrogen, nuclear fusion and other green technologies will be developing fast in 2023, as the world transitions away from carbon. Other technology trends include developments in gene editing, quantum computing and connected devices. Expect artificial intelligence to get even smarter in 2023.

Will there be a depression in 2023? ›

The threat of a U.S. recession remains alive in 2023. The consensus estimate on the probability of a meaningful downturn in the American economy in the next 12 months is at 65%, according to Goldman Sachs Research. But our own economic analysis rates that probability much lower, at 35%.

How likely is economic collapse? ›

Almost two-thirds of chief economists believe a global recession is likely in 2023; of which 18% consider it extremely likely – more than twice as many as in the previous survey conducted in September 2022. A third of respondents consider a global recession to be unlikely this year.

Will the US avoid a recession in 2023? ›

Overall Outlook

In a best-case scenario, the U.S. will likely see a 'soft landing' with low/slow growth across 2023 before picking up in 2024. However, a downside scenario is a real possibility and could see the U.S. enter a prolonged recession lasting well into 2024, as is currently forecast for the UK and Germany.

What are the biggest worries for CEOs? ›

Despite recession expectations, attracting and retaining talent tops the list of CEOs' internal concerns. CEOs globally: Talent ranks 1st among internal worries for CEOs worldwide.

What is the biggest problem facing CEOs? ›

Interviews with internally promoted CEOs reveal that they face five significant challenges: operating in the shadow of their past; making decisions that disappoint supporters; overseeing former peers; pacing change; and managing the outgoing CEO.

What businesses can expect in 2023? ›

The Top 5 Fastest Growing Industries in 2023
  1. Shipping and delivery services. The rising popularity of online purchases has led to an increased demand for shippers and is fast securing its place as the growth industry front-runner. ...
  2. The healthcare industry. ...
  3. Travel and food industries. ...
  4. Online retail. ...
  5. The AI revolution.
Jan 23, 2023

What should companies focus on in 2023? ›

In 2023, employers must prioritize transparency around how they collect, use and store employee data, as well as allow employees to opt out of practices they find objectionable. Start building an employee data bill of rights to support your employees' need for healthy boundaries in addition to overall well-being.

What is CEO weakness? ›

KEY CONCEPT. The greatest weakness of CEOs is their lack of people management and talent management skills, according to a Stanford Graduate School of Business survey of Boards of Directors.


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