The University of Texas at Austin ranks No. 1 as source of new Fortune 1000 CEOs

April 13, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas—The University of Texas at Austin tied with the University of Chicago as the number one source of Fortune 1000 CEOs hired in 2004-2005, according to a survey by USA Today and the public relations firm, Burson-Marsteller.

USA Today and Burson-Marsteller tracked the numbers, surveying the graduate and undergraduate alma maters of all CEOs hired at Fortune 1000 firms since Jan. 1, 2004. The results are summarized in an April 6 USA Today article, “Wanted: CEO, no Ivy required,” which includes a chart of the new hires and their alma maters.

The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Chicago led the list, with four alumni each.

The article cited several studies showing that major corporations no longer turn to Ivy League schools as predominantly as they once did when shopping for CEOs.

A study by executive search firm Spencer Stuart showed that the percentage of CEOs at Fortune 500 firms who were educated at Ivy League schools declined from 16 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2004.

“Even the Harvard MBA shows signs of erosion,” reported USA Today, noting a 5 percent drop in the number of large-company CEOs with Harvard Business School credentials from 1998-2004.

Newly hired CEOs who graduated from The University of Texas at Austin include Gary Kelly (Southwest Airlines), John Wilder (TXU Corp), Thomas Ryan (Service Corporation International) and Robert McGehee (Progress Energy). Kelly, Wilder and Ryan graduated from the university’s McCombs School of Business, which tied the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business as the top business school source of CEO talent. McGehee graduated from the University of Texas School of Law.

The results complement a study of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 firms conducted by Bloomberg News in July 2004. According to Bloomberg, CEOs are four times more likely to have earned their undergraduate degree from a publicly funded university than from an Ivy League school.

The University of Texas at Austin placed fifth in the Bloomberg survey. The McCombs School, with seven S&P 500 CEO alumni, ranked fifth among all business schools and first among public business schools.

For more information contact: J.B. Bird, McCombs School of Business, 512-471-3314.