The Changing Ranks of Corporate Leaders

by Peter Cappelli, Rocio Bonet, Monika Hamori


The Changing Ranks of Corporate Leaders

Image Credit | Dave Cutler



The leaders of business are a continued focus of interest in management research and in the broader society. Their attributes speak to social mobility, inequality, and who holds positions of power and influence in society. This article examines the attributes of the ten highest-ranked executives of the largest corporate enterprises in the United States—the Fortune 100—and compares how they have changed over the past 40 years, a period when many assumptions about businesses and the people who run them have changed. While there has been significant change in some areas, such as the increase in the proportion of women and foreign-born executives and the rise in outside hiring, there is no evidence of an increase in younger leaders who advance faster than their predecessors and spend an ever-shorter time with their employer. In fact, top executives now are as old as their peers were in the 1950s, and their tenure with their employer is rising.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us