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Slideshow: 25 CEOs Who Started as Engineers

Charles Murray

April 2, 2014

23 Slides

For decades, the corporate path to the chief executive's office has often passed through engineering. Automotive, computer, electronics, and oil companies have frequently drawn their leaders from the engineering ranks.

Today, the trend continues, and it reaches beyond technology companies. McDonald's Corp., for example, is now led by an engineer. So is Bank of America. According to a 2011 study conducted by consulting firm Spencer Stuart, approximately one third of the top executives in S&P 500 companies were educated as engineers. The same study revealed that only 11% of CEOs received undergraduate degrees in business administration.

We did a little digging and found engineering background information on CEOs of top companies. From GM and Ford to McDonald's and ExxonMobil, we present a few of the corporate world's highest-ranking engineers.

Click on the photo of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella below to start the slideshow and to see who else made this impressive list.

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About the Author(s)

Charles Murray

Charles Murray is a former Design News editor and author of the book, Long Hard Road: The Lithium-Ion Battery and the Electric Car, published by Purdue University Press. He previously served as a DN editor from 1987 to 2000, then returned to the magazine as a senior editor in 2005. A former editor with Semiconductor International and later with EE Times, he has followed the auto industry’s adoption of electric vehicle technology since 1988 and has written extensively about embedded processing and medical electronics. He was a winner of the Jesse H. Neal Award for his story, “The Making of a Medical Miracle,” about implantable defibrillators. He is also the author of the book, The Supermen: The Story of Seymour Cray and the Technical Wizards Behind the Supercomputer, published by John Wiley & Sons in 1997. Murray’s electronics coverage has frequently appeared in the Chicago Tribune and in Popular Science. He holds a BS in engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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