The Most Common Names for CEOs


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Is it possible that shorter first names could spell greater professional success in one’s life?

LinkedIn, a social network for job hunters, analyzed the profiles of its 100 million users and found that Peter and Bob were the two most common names for male CEOs registered on the site, while Deborah and Sally were the most common for female CEOs.

The study found that shorter names were particularly common in general for male CEOs registered on the site, as names like Jack and Fred also ranked high on the list, though some of those are likely nicknames or truncated versions of a longer full name.

“Male CEOs around the world use these shortened versions of their name as a way to be more approachable and accessible to potential clients,” said Frank Nuessel, the editor of NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics, in a press release for the study.

Women CEOs on the list did have slightly longer names on average in part because they were less likely to adopt a nickname than men, a point that Nuessel says “could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light.”

When filtered by country, the list of names changes a bit. Howard proved to be the most common name for CEOs in the U.S., while Tony was the most common in Britain and Ray was the most common in Canada, though these names also fit the mold of being short potential nicknames.

Longer first names were found to be common in several other professions analyzed in the study. The three most common names for engineers were Rajesh, Jeremy and Andrew, each of which have six letters, and the most common names in the food services industry Thierry, Philippe and Laurent, have 7 letters each.

But just because some names are more common than others for particular profession, there are plenty of exceptions to the results above. Jeremy may be one of the most common names for engineers, but don’t tell that to Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of Yelp. Likewise, Philippe may be the most common name for restaurant workers, but that didn’t stop Philippe Dauman from becoming the CEO of Viacom, and one of the highest paid executives in the country to boot.

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