Few things in the corporate world are more captivating to a general audience than a company run by its founder. Elon Musk is a classic example. No matter what you think of the multi-billionaire businessman, serial company founder, and social media gadfly, it’s hard to look away from him or his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
Similar things could be said about Jeff Bezos and Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg and Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), and Reed Hastings and Netflix.
To determine the largest founder-led companies in the Fortune 500, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on Fortune’s website. Fortune ranks public companies by their total revenue per respective fiscal year. Each company on this list was founded by its current CEO and was ranked based on annual revenue.
According to Fidelity Investments, some investors believe that companies led by their founders have a competitive advantage. They believe founders have greater experience running the companies they’ve established, a stronger drive for success, and an “incentive to take the long-view for the business.” (These are famous brands that will disappear in 2022.)
This perception that founder-led companies have an advantage may stem from the fact that founder-led companies tend to be newer and more exciting, capitalizing on the latest innovations. The oldest existing U.S. company, Bank of New York Mellon, which was founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784, is a stuffy stalwart compared to Tesla, the maker of high-tech electric cars at the vanguard of modern automobile electrification.
Whatever the case may be, there aren’t many large companies run by their founders. Company creators resign (as Bezos did last year from his CEO role at Amazon) or their companies are acquired or go bankrupt — or companies simply outlive their creators. (This is the largest merger of the past 20 years.)
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