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Top 10: Most Popular CEO Names

July 24, 2012
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Want your kid to be a CEO?  Name him Steven or Greg!

Studies indicate that level of academic success can be correlated with the first letter of one’s last name, with surnames earlier in the alphabet outperforming those later.  But could a name also make you more likely to become a CEO?

NerdWallet looked at the names of all 500 CEOs in the S&P 500 and found that certain names are much more prevalent than others.  Most of these names are common among CEOs because they are common among the general population of men in their late 50’s, but two names, Steven and Greg, are far more common among CEOs than among the general population.  Steven is the 3rd most popular CEO name even though it is only 11th in the general population while Greg is the 9th in popularity among CEOs, but only 26th in the general population.

Below are the top 10 CEO names, their frequency at S&P500 companies and their popularity ranking during the 1950’s, when most of today’s CEOs were born.  Names that are more common among CEOs than the general population are in green, while those less popular among CEOs are in red.

Check out the CEO name and more for any S&P500 company!


John Donahoe, CEO of eBay

1.  John/Jonathan

# of S&P500 CEOs: 38

1950’s Popularity: #4


2.  Michael

# of S&P500 CEOs: 25

1950’s Popularity: #2


3 (tied).  Stephen/Steven

# of S&P500 CEOs: 24

 1950’s Popularity: #11


Steve Jobs, Former CEO of Apple

3 (tied).  David

# of S&P500 CEOs: 24

1950’s Popularity: #5


5 (tied). Robert

# of S&P500 CEOs: 20

1950’s Popularity: #3


5 (tied). James

# of S&P500 CEOs: 20

1950’s Popularity: #1


David Steiner, CEO of Waste Management

7. William

# of S&P500 CEOs: 16

1950’s Popularity: #6


8. Richard

# of S&P500 CEOs: 14

1950’s Popularity: #7


9 (tied). Gregory

# of S&P500 CEOs: 13

1950’s Popularity: #26


Greg Steinhafel, CEO of Target

9 (tied). Mark/Marc

# of S&P500 CEOs: 13

1950’s Popularity: #9