Research Summary

The American Chief Executive from 1850 to 2000

by Richard S. Tedlow


Richard S. Tedlow's research explores changes in the leadership strategies, styles, and backgrounds of corporate chief executive officers in the United States over the past century and a half. This project has both a qualitative and a quantitative component. The qualitative issues are described and analyzed in his book Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Leaders and the Empires They Built (New York: HarperBusiness, 2001). The discussion of these seven business visionaries provides a prism through which we can see the evolution of American business and the American chief executive officer over the course of a century and a half. Business Week selected Giants of Enterprise as one of the top 10 business books of 2001. The quantitative side of this research is composed of data gathered on the CEOs of the nation's 250 largest corporations at different points in history. This database consists of demographic information (such as age, income, education, and place of birth) and information on career path (including number of companies worked at, number of jobs held, and number of years in business before reaching the top). Professor Tedlow's most recent book is a dual biography of the Thomas J. Watsons, Sr. and Jr., and the long term impact of their leadership on IBM. Entitled The Watson Dynasty: The Fiery Reign and Troubled Legacy of IBM's Founding Father and Son. This book was published by HarperBusiness in November 2003. Professor Tedlow has just competed Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American. It is forthcoming from Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, on November 2, 2006.