The Annotated CEO
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A guide to the typical inc. 500 chief
A ge: The average Inc. 500 CEO is 43. The youngest is 23. For the second year in a row, Inc. 500 veteran (1993, 1994, and 1995) Robert Deutsch of RWD Technologies (#363) retains his title as the 500's tribal elder. Deutsch is 71.
Gender: The Inc. 500 glass ceiling didn't crack this year. Just 38 companies on the '95 list -- 7.6% of the total -- are run by women. That's 10 less than last year, and that's way below the national statistic, which holds that 37% of all businesses are owned by women.
Marriage: Behind every good CEO stands a . . . ? Inc. 500 chiefs may be wedded to their companies, but they're more wedded to their spouses. Eighty-eight percent of the company builders on this year's list are married. (For comparison, 61% of U.S. adults are married.) Are these entrepreneurs happily married? There's at least one good sign that they are: 25% of the married CEOs like their spouses so much that they work with them every day. Only 5% of this year's Inc. 500 CEOs are back on the market after a divorce, and just 5% are single.
Exercise: OK, so there's the CEO who brags about the 365 "sit-ups" he does annually . . . getting out of bed. But not many Inc. 500 CEOs would call themselves couch potatoes: the vast majority of them -- almost 400 -- do some form of exercise. Golf, tennis, running, cycling, and basketball are the most popular. Some Inc. 500 CEOs insist on sharing the ecstasy with the whole office. Take Norman Fong, founder of FWB (#112). Twice a week his employees compete in interdepartmental beach volleyball matches. "We try to get everyone to play," says Fong, "but we try to discourage departments from hiring temporary employees just to win."
Education: Not everyone can be a Bill Gates. Still, 11% of this year's Inc. 500 CEOs have something in common with that former Inc. 500 CEO: they leaped into business armed with only a high school diploma. Another 10% graduated from a two-year college; almost 44% have undergraduate degrees; and 35% have graduate degrees.
Salary: The median salary for this year's Inc. 500 CEOs is $150,000. (The average is $261,000.)
Citizenship: People from China, India, Iran, Israel, and Korea seem to have a knack for finding American streets that are paved with gold. Those are the countries listed most often as the birthplaces of the 12% of this year's Inc. 500 CEOs who were not born in the United States.
Political activity: Nationwide, 62% of Americans are registered to vote, yet only 45% of the eligible population actually did vote last year. In comparison, the Inc. 500 CEOs are a politically active lot: 63% of them say they vote in all elections, and 14% actively lobby their state lawmakers.
Time spent on the computer: Inc. 500 CEOs log an average of about 15 hours a week on their computers.
The entrepreneurial gene: Entrepreneurs do breed entrepreneurs, it seems. Forty-one percent of this year's winners say that their parents are, or have been, business owners.
Hours worked: The average Inc. 500 CEO puts in 58 hours a week. Some CEOs get away with as few as 20, while others claim they slave up to 100 hours a week.
Vacation: On average, Inc. 500 CEOs take 2.3 weeks each year to kick back. But not Bill Kirton. The owner of Executive Systems and Software (#157) doesn't seem to get the old adage about all work and no play. He claims he hasn't had a full week off in the last seven years. "I view a well-planned vacation with lots of items on your itinerary as more arduous than the work I do every day," he says. (Who said anything about an itinerary?)
Management experience: Ironically, 31% of this year's Inc. 500 CEOs say that they started their businesses to take control of their lives, yet the average owner toils 58 hours a week. Nearly 70% have previous management experience, and 55% got the ideas for their businesses while working in the same industries.