I grew up with the last name "Fashingbauer," so I think I know a little bit about misspelled and mispronounced names. Fishingbauer? Fashionbauer? Fashingburr? I've heard and seen 'em all.
I learned early on to brush off the misspellings and mispronunciations, but when I'm interviewing for a job, I don't want to be the dolt who doesn't know how to pronounce the boss's name. And job-hunting aside: I'd sound pretty ignorant in any meeting or conversation if I mangled one of these not-as-easy-as-they-look names. Here's a look at 12 tricky-to-pronounce names of major CEOs that you'll never get wrong again.
1. Jeff Bezos
You might feel the bee sting of embarrassment if you pronounce it Bee-zos. Listen to it straight from the Amazon CEO himself. Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013, and his own paper published this video of the man saying his own name.
2. Warren Buffett
BUFF-ett, rhymes with "bluff-it"
The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is pretty well-known, but if you've never heard his name said aloud, you might think of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Instead, it rhymes with the tuffet that Little Miss Muffet sat on. (It's not Boo-fay, either -- that was Phoebe from "Friends.")
3. Elon Musk
E-lon, not E-lun
The baby name Elon has jumped 348 spaces higher in popularity from 2017 to 2018, according to Babycenter.com. It's now at #928 and climbing, almost certainly due in some part to Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. But don't say it like "Ellen" -- the second syllable is pronounced kind of like "lawn." You can hear Howard Wolowitz (actor Simon Helberg) pronounce the CEO's name twice in this fun clip from "The Big Bang Theory," featuring a Musk cameo.
4. Mary Barra
BAR-uh, first syllable rhymes with "car"
Mary Barra, the first female CEO of a major global automaker, has been the head of General Motors since 2014. Fittingly, the first syllable of her last name rhymes with the product GM makes.
5. John Legere
Ledg-er, like a book of financial accounts
T-Mobile CEO John Legere knows his last name is hard to pronounce, so he even tweeted a helpful guide -- mixed with a gibe at a competitor. Wrote Legere: "I know there's been some questions about it, it's pronounced "Ledger"- as in @ATT is about to jump off the ledge...r ;)" You can also hear him say it here.
6. Indra Nooyi
Pepsico CEO Indra Nooyi's name will come out as smooth as a refreshing cola drink if you remember the emphasis is on the first syllable in both her first and last name.
7. Ginni Rometty
Jin-ee Rom-ETTY, rhymes with "spaghetti"
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's name is much easier to pronounce than it may look at first. Ginni is a popular nickname for Virginia (you may be more used to seeing it spelled Ginnie or Ginny). And Rometti rhymes with "spaghetti."
8. Bob Iger
Eye-ger, rhymes with "tiger"
The "Bob" part of the Disney CEO's name you can probably handle. "Iger" rhymes with "tiger." Surely Disney's made a movie or two with a cartoon tiger, right? If not, please send me any royalties once they inevitably do.
9. Oscar Munoz
The CEO of United Airlines does not use a tilde over the "n" in his last name, but it's still pronounced with the Spanish-accented "ny" sound.
10. Dara Khosrowshahi
Khosrowshahi took over as CEO of car-sharing service Uber in 2017 after a dozen years at Expedia. His first name is pronounced DAH-ra, not DARE-ah, and his last name really isn't that difficult to say if you break it into the four parts given above.
11. Edward H. Bastian
Bastian is the CEO of Delta Airlines, and his last name is pronounced the same as the word "bastion," as in, "a bastion of industry." The sound clip on this Merriam-Webster dictionary page has it pronounced correctly.
12. Anne Wojcicki
Wojcicki is the CEO of the personal genomics company 23andMe. The "jc" letter combination may throw readers off, but her last name is pronounced "Woh-JIS-key," not "Woh-JIC-kee." Put the emphasis on the second syllable. And if you can pronounce that, keep it in mind for another executive -- her sister Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of YouTube.