Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Warren Buffett — you know the names. But how did they come to helm the world’s largest companies? And is there anything we can learn from their stories that might suggest lessons about how they made it to the top? University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Kimberly Whitler looked into the education and career choices of the CEOs of the world’s 100 largest corporations, as ranked by Fortune, and made some surprising discoveries.

In this Darden Ideas to Action podcast, Whitler joins host Sean Carr to dissect her research into the backgrounds and paths of Fortune 100 CEOs to unearth findings that inform the next generation of rising business leaders. Discover what current Fortune 100 CEOs have in common — and don’t have in common — and why their backgrounds are often surprising.  

About the Expert

Kimberly A. Whitler

Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration

Whitler is an authority on marketing, with expertise in marketing strategy, brand management, and marketing performance. Her research centers on understanding how a firm’s marketing performance is affected by its C-suite and board.

A prolific writer as well as researcher, Whitler has authored nearly 100 articles related to C-level marketing management challenges and is a contributor for Forbes and Social Media Marketing Magazine named her one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter.

Whitler has held leadership roles, including GM and CMO positions, within the consumer packaged goods and retailing industries, including Procter & Gamble, David’s Bridal and PetSmart. She has helped build $1B+ brands, including Tide, Bounce, Downy and Zest.

B.A., Eureka College; MBA, University of Arizona Eller School of Business; M.S., Ph.D., Indiana University Kelley School of Business