Photo: Alessio Jacona via Flickr
The path to success is an infamously elusive one. With so many critical factors to account for, meta-research stands as our most attested compass. With the help of a new paper published in Business Comparison, Ladders reviews all of the similarities that separate eminent individuals from everyone else.
“We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest brands in their world to get an insight into their CEOs and what sets them apart from the crowd,” the authors said of their new paper.
Some of the key characteristics revealed in the study, namely gender, nationality, and educational background, are less prophetic and more symptomatic of socioeconomic barriers. In other words: not all of the information provided below requires introspection.
“We took our original list from Pilotfish Media’s research on the most influential brands on social media. We then used sources such as Wikipedia, Bloomberg, Forbes and Crunchbase to find out everything from birthdates to when they first became a CEO. We also took numbers of social followers by looking at Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts,” the report continues.
The methodology concluded the average successful CEO to be an American male around the age of 55 who achieved the highest rank within his firm roughly 14 years prior to receiving a position. He’s a Harvard alumni, he carries an MBA and he’s a Taurus.
Social media analytics weren’t as translatable to the big picture.
For one thing, it’s a relatively new tool as far as corporate ecosystems are concerned and the terrain is still pretty ill-defined in the professional sphere.
As of February 2020, the CEOs with the highest number of social media followers are Kylie Jenner with 203,850,035 followers, Mark Zuckerberg with 122,647,793 and Tim Cook with 11,596,689. Of course, one ill-timed guffaw could knock any one of these out of the top three.
On balance, women magnates procure more online followers, with an average of 53,448,255 across three networks, whereas men secure an average of roughly 3,229,248 followers via the same platforms. This is basically where statistical gaps cease to favor the former.
Of the 46 high-ranking CEOs studied only four were women: Kylie Cosmetics’ Kylie Jenner, Huda Beauty’s Huda Kattan, ITV’s Carolyn McCall, and Yves Saint Laurent’s Francesca Bellettini.
This means female executives account for 8% of the pool and sectors like technology and the automotive industry feature virtually zero.
“While success in the boardroom is largely dictated by the business sense of the individual, it’s possible that social following has a part to play for some of our CEOs.”
The data is certainly compelling (and extensive). Success stories of the recent past seem to be signaling a rapidly developing landscape ahead.
The age of innovation
As previously covered by Ladders, Americans are entering entrepreneurship at an increasingly younger age. Forty-five percent of the successful founders featured in Business Comparison’s new analysis belong to the Millennial generation.
While the participating Baby Boomers generally secured higher net earnings than their younger colleagues, far less did so as owners of their own corporations. This generation proved to be particularly adept at climbing the ranks within their respective companies.
The youngest successful Founder/CEO involved in the new report is Kylie Jenner at the age of 22 and the oldest is Canon CEO, Fujio Mitarai, who is 84 and was promoted to his role by a superior director.
“It is most common for the bosses to get their first CEO title at the ages of 46 and 51, with four CEOs for each age. These include Satya Nadella of Microsoft who became a CEO at 46 and Mark Parker from Nike who became a CEO at 51,” the authors added. “Age may just be a number, but for these CEOs, it provides an insight into how they got to where they are today, with them coming from a number of different generational groups.”
Founders tended to start their professional journeys much earlier in life, with a median starting age of 28.
Only three of the 46 magnates examined dropped out of college, Spotify’s Daniel Ek, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, all managed to achieve the height of entrepreneurship without the help of a diploma.
However, the largest majority of success stories began with a prestigious university education. Harvard University housed the highest number of affluent CEOs, followed by Princeton and the Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania rounded out the top three.
Youngest successful CEOs
- Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics)—22
- Evan Spiegel (Snap Chat)—29
- Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)—35
- Daniel Ek (Spotify)—36
- Huda Kattan (Huda Beauty)—36
Oldest successful CEOs
- Fujio Mitarai (Canon)—84
- Ren Zhengfei (Huawei)—75
- Larry Ellison (Oracle) —75
- Alain Wertheimer (Chanel) —71
- Bernard Arnault (Louis Vuitton)—70
Taurus is a zodiac earth sign bearing the insignia of a bull with pointed tusks. The astrological symbol is said to invoke a sense of loyalty, ambition, patience, and practicality. The largest share of successful CEOs also happen to belong to the celestial spirit animal, just ahead of Leos— a sign associated with innovation and extravagance.
Most successful zodiac signs
- Taurus- 8
“Have you ever wondered what makes the most powerful businessmen and women tick? How did they get to where they are? When you think of the likes of Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos, can you see any similarities between them?” the authors conclude. “Maybe you’ll see something of yourself in these CEO secrets!”