The Quick 10: What 10 CEOs Were Doing Before Conquering the Corporate World


Yeah, they're making a bazillion dollars now, but even the corporate bigwigs had to start somewhere. Here are a few that might give you hope for your own career. I'm especially fond of #1...

1. Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company, was a weatherman for the local news.

2. Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, served in the Vietnam war for the U.S., even though he is British and had only been in the States for about six weeks when he was drafted. After that he worked various jobs at CBS, including running the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, which he claims is still his favorite job ever.

3. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, worked for Atari on and off for a while, helping them develop and tweak games. He designed the circuit board for the Pong-like game Breakout.

4. Mark Parker, CEO of Nike.

This may not come as a surprise, but Mark used to design footwear... for Nike.

5. Frank Blake, CEO of Home Depot, served as the law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

6. Larry Probst, the CEO of Electronic Arts (you know, The Sims, Spore, Rock Band, etc.), was the National Accounts Manager for Clorox. Yeah, the bleach. So it totally makes sense that he runs a video game publisher now.

7. Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup, was a junior finance professor at Indiana University (Bloomington).

8. Brad Anderson, the CEO of Best Buy, started his career in the music business in 1973 as a salesman with a chain of stereo stores called Sound of Music. It took him two weeks to make his first sale.

9. Samuel Palmisano, the CEO of IBM, had a stint playing backup sax for The Temptations. OK, it was only for a week, but that's still interesting.

10. Alan Lafley, the CEO of Procter and Gamble, started his career in 1977 as a "Brand Assistant of Joy". I'm assuming that means the dish soap, not the emotion. Although that would have been awesome. Balloon animals for all employees!!