Survey: 20 Percent of Workers Have No Clue What CEO Looks Like

Who is your CEO?

Some high-profile companies -- Facebook, for example -- have such highly visible CEOs that you don't have to work there to know who runs the place. But if you couldn't pick your own CEO out of a line up, don't worry, because you're not alone.

A new CareerBuilder survey of more than 7,000 full-time workers reveals that while 60 percent of workers have met their CEO, many -- 21 percent -- don't even know what he or she looks like. By industry, workers in business services, sales and manufacturing are most likely to have met their CEO, while a majority of workers in information technology, financial services and retail say they have not met their organization's top leader.

Location Matters

Depending on where you live, you may be better able to recognize your CEO if you are in an elevator together. Workers from the Midwest and South are least likely to know what their CEO looks like, followed by the West and East:

  • Midwest -- 23 percent
  • South -- 23 percent
  • West -- 19 percent
  • East -- 18 percent


According to the survey, workers' awareness of the C-suite falls off significantly after the CEO. Just 35 percent of workers can name all of the C-level officers at their organization, while an additional 21 percent can only name some C-level officers.

"Leadership from the C-suite can be a difficult balance. The CEO and, in some cases, other senior leaders are the face of the company both internally and externally. Meaning, they need to find a level of accessibility that allows them to connect with employees, while on the other hand, dedicate the necessary time for building relationships with outside stakeholders," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Employees realize their top leaders can't know everyone on a first name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization's values."

Get To Know The CEO

Depending on the size of your company, your level or the visibility of your executives, you may never become BFF with the C-suite. Yet there are ways you can take matters into your own hands:

  • Do your research: Go to your company's website and see if there's an "About Us" or "Executive Bios" section. Bookmark the page -- chances are if there are bios, there are pictures that go along with them.
  • Speak up: If you're at a meeting with the CEO, no matter what the size, introduce yourself. Even if you just say your name, title and what you work on, the CEO will appreciate your assertiveness and will more likely than not remember your name, or at least your face. And by having a brief conversation, it'll help you remember him or her, too.
  • Make a suggestion: If you think your company's executives could do a better job of getting in front of employees, don't be afraid to say so. Most companies offer confidential employee surveys, so that's one good place to make the recommendation.
  • Volunteer: Offer to work on a high-profile client project or volunteer to help with the company's philanthropy initiative. This will give you more visibility within the company and, chances are, more interaction with the C-level.


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what this country needs is a good ole revolution against the greedy individuals who live off the back of the poor. especially the greedy oil company execs. these bastards dont give a damn that they are breaking our backs with sky high oil prices and remember this that that s.o.b. gw bush is the left handed monkey wrench that allowed gas prices to rise this high in the first place because he was and is the oil mans best friend. just look what this idiot did to this country just like his grandfather caused the first great depression in '29. wwc.

March 30 2012 at 12:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Employees probably do not know that IF they have disability coverage and need it....the company does NOT have to approve it.....even if you pay for it out of your paycheck....there is CORRUPTION AND COVER UP EVERYWHERE.....worker's compensation benefits can also be denied.... It is interesting just what companies can get by with....they can RIP people off also.....just like anything else....and a person finds out this too little too late....DON'T waste your money on is a BIG RIPOFF....

March 29 2012 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The truth is, ALL of them except Ralph Lauren (who essentially owns his own company) are vastly overpaid. The people truly responsible for the companies earning the money they do are the workers, those who get up early and work late to make sure goals are met. The CEO's don't ultimately do that much, and when they are paid hundreds of times more than their general workforce that is too much. For any of these CEO's, fair pay might be in the range of 200-300k; the rest of their pay should be divided up amongst the workers.

March 29 2012 at 9:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why do I care what they look like. I know what their signature on my 1200.00 weekly check looks like and that is all that matters along with the fact the check clears!

March 29 2012 at 8:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even if you know who the CEO is, most likely, I think that they would probably keep a low profile anyway.

March 29 2012 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't care whoi the CEO is.

March 29 2012 at 7:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Theresa Kovatch

i thought it was the C E idontknow

March 29 2012 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They probably look like jerks and they surely don't know what you look like.

March 29 2012 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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