Blogs & Comment

Do Given Names Indicate Success?

The current edition of Canadian Businessmagazine features details on the CEOs of Canadas 50 largest companies by revenue according to the 2008 CB Investor 500 . The 54 gentlemen (no women) on the list shared 39 given names.
What should your name be if you want to be on this list? If not the CEO, how about Chairman of the Board, CFO or one of the other most highly paid people in these companies? If you missed out, maybe naming your children after one of these people would increase their chances of bubbling to the top. We examined proxy circulars for these companies to find the first names of the 294 people who either chaired the company or were among the most highly paid individuals as indicated in the circulars. Where names like Alan, Ronald and Michael can be spelled or expressed in different ways, weve used one common spelling.
The results:

  • There were only 11 women listed or less than 4% of the total population which indicates there is still a long way to go.
  • Other than Galen, all the other names mentioned below are quite traditional, the type you would find on any Canadian street or classroom in the 1950s.
  • If you want to be Chairman, we found that a guy named Davidchaired14% of these large companies. John was next at 10% and Robert came in at 8%. Other multiple mentions were Allan at 6% and Arthur, Frank and William at 4% each. These seven first names chaired half of Canadas largest companies.
  • If CEO is your game, Michaelis your name. Four CEOs were named Michael, followed by three Donalds. Galen, Gerald, James, Jeffrey, John, Paul Pierre and Richard all had two mentions.
  • If CFO is what you aspire to be, there are four each of Brianand Richard. William and Gregory come in three times each and there are two Pauls.
  • How about just being one of the other most highly paid individuals in the company? If you can stoop to this, Robertshould be your name with nine mentions, followed by Peter with eight and Michael and John with five each. Stephen, William, Richard, Mark and Donald all get four entries and Alan, Alexander, Brian, David, Eric, Gary and James all get three positions.
  • The most popular names for all these positions are Robert(15), Peter/Pierre (13), Michael (13), Richard (12), John (12), David (11) and William (10). These seven names comprise over 29% of all the executives covered.