Keeping a job, any job, for 20 years or more is becoming rarer and rarer. The feat may be uniquely treacherous for the chief executive officer of a publicly traded company that is judged on quarterly performance. As goes the company, so goes the CEO’s career.
Among the companies that comprise the S&P 500 index, just 30 recent CEOs have held their jobs for 20 or more years. For Americans born between 1957 and 1964, men held an average of 11.8 jobs in their working careers and women held 11.5 different jobs. Job changes could be due to promotions, transfers or leaving, voluntarily or otherwise. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2016, the average job tenure for an employee is just 4.2 years.
That period gets longer as employees get older and more established in their careers and positions. During the early years of their working lives (18 through 24), Americans born between 1957 and 1964 held 5.5 jobs, nearly half the average for a lifetime. For people born between the 1960s and 1980s, the average number of job changes was just two. That number rises to three or four for millennials, according to The Balance Careers.
Researchers at MyLogIQ, a public company intelligence provider, have combed through the data and provided the following list of 30 CEOs who have held their jobs at an S&P 500 company for 20 years or more in its “CEO Tenure at S&P 500 companies.” All 30 are men, and they range in age from 54 to 83. We’ve noted which of these CEOs are also founders, co-founders or scions of either.
- Abbott Laboratories CEO Miles D. White, 21 years
- Activision Blizzard CEO Robert A. Kotick, 25 years
- Aflac CEO Daniel P. Amos, 21 years (son of co-founder Paul Amos)
- Alexandria Real Estate Equities CEO Joel S. Marcus, 21 years (co-founder)
- Amazon.com CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos 22 years (founder)
- Apartment Investment & Management CEO Terry Considine, 24 years (founder)
- Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren E. Buffett, 22 years (founder)
- Capital One Financial CEO Richard D. Fairbank, 24 years (co-founder)
- CenturyLink CEO Glen F. Post III, 27 years (retired in May 2018)
- FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith, 21 years (founder)
- Arthur J. Gallagher CEO J. Patrick Gallagher Jr., 22 years (grandson of founder)
- Gilead Sciences CEO John C. Martin, 21 years (1996 through 2016, now serves as chairman)
- Robert Half International CEO Harold M. Messmer Jr., 27 years
- Henry Schein CEO Stanley M. Bergman, 24 years
- Hess CEO John B. Hess, 23 years (son of founder Leon Hess)
- IPG Photonics CEO Valentin P. Gapontsev, 28 years (founder)
- L Brands CEO Leslie H. Wexner, 25 years (founder)
- Lennar CEO Stuart A. Miller, 21 years (son of founder, became executive chairman in 2018)
- M&T Bank CEO Robert G. Wilmers, 27 years (died in December 2017)
- Macerich CEO Arthur M. Coppola, 24 years
- Microchip Technology CEO Steve Sanghi, 25 years
- Monster Beverage CEO Rodney C. Sacks, 28 years
- Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, 22 years (co-founder)
- Omnicom Group CEO John D. Wren, 21 years
- Prologis CEO Hamid R. Moghadam, 21 years (co-founder)
- Regency Centers CEO Martin E. Stein Jr., 25 years (son of founder)
- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals CEO Leonard S. Schleifer, 24 years (co-founder)
- Synopsys CEO Aart J. de Geus, 24 years (co-founder)
- Universal Health Services CEO Alan B. Miller, 27 years (founder)
- Zions Bancorp CEO Harris H. Simmons, 27 years
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