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World's 18 longest-serving CEOs

Last updated on: May 26, 2011 09:32 IST

World's 18 longest-serving CEOs

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It is not easy for a chief executive to keep his job for long. But sometimes there are CEOs who are able to stay at the top for decades.

And these executives become part of the company's history and growth.

Here are some of the longest-serving CEOs of public companies - with more than $10 billion revenue - who have managed to occupy the top spot for at least 15 years.

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Image: Some CEOs become part of the company's history and growth.

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1. Roger Penske

CEO: Penske Corporation

Time: 42 years

Penske started buying, selling and racing cars in 1958.

He founded Penske Corp as a holding company for his automotive endeavours, which now include car dealerships, truck rentals and engine manufacturing.

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Image: Penske started buying, selling and racing cars in 1958.
Photographs: Reuters
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2. Warren Buffett

CEO: Berkshire Hathaway

Time: 41 years

The legendary zen master of investing took control of textile company Berkshire Hathaway in 1970.

Forty years later, he's one of the richest men in the world, and he's one of the few out there whose name rings far louder than the brand of the company he leads.

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Image: Buffett took control of Berkshire Hathaway in 1970.
Photographs: Reuters
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3. Bill Marriott

CEO: Marriott International

Time: 39 years

Bill is the son of founder J Willard Marriott, who started the business in 1927 as a humble root beer stand called 'The Hot Shoppe'.

He took over in the early 70s, after his father changed the company name to Marriott Corporation.

Before he took over, Marriott was solely a food services company, but he diversified into theme parks, vacation time-shares and eventually hotels.

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Image: Bill is the son of founder J Willard Marriott.

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4. Larry Ellison

CEO: Oracle

Time: 34 years

Ellison co-founded enterprise software and database management provider Oracle 34 years ago and has stayed in control of the company since.

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Image: Ellison co-founded Oracle.
Photographs: Reuters
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5. Rupert Murdoch

CEO: News Corporation

Time: 32 years

He started buying up other newspapers, first in the UK and then the US, in the 1970s.

Forty years later, his company has become one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

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Image: Rupert with his wife, Wendi Deng.
Photographs: Reuters
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6. James Sinegal

CEO: Costco

Time: 28 years

Sinegal co-founded Costco, now the US' largest wholesale club, with Seattle retailer Jeff Brotman.

It was the first warehouse store to offer petrol and fresh food.

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Image: Sinegal co-founded Costco.

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7. Joseph Neubauer

CEO: Aramark

Time: 28 years

A former vice-president at PepsiCo and Chase Manhattan, Neubauer joined food and facilities services company ARA Services and immediately had to fend off a hostile takeover bid, resulting in buyout by the incumbent executives.

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Image: Joseph Neubauer with his wife, Jeanette.

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8. Edward Rust Jr

CEO: State Farm Insurance

Time: 26 years

Rust's grandfather was a lawyer that helped State Farm founder George Mecherle start up the company in 1922.

He became CEO in 1954, passed it down to his son in 1967, and the job finally landed in Edward Rust Jr's lap in 1985.

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Image: Rust has been the CEO since 1985.
Photographs: Reuters
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9. Dan Amos

CEO: Aflac

Time: 21 years

Aflac was founded in 1955 by three brothers: John, Paul, and Bill Amos.

So it was natural for Dan Amos, John's son, to head the company in their stead.

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Image: Aflac was founded in 1955.

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10. Ray Irani

CEO: Occidental Petroleum

Time: 21 years

Irani was an exec at chemicals maker Olin Corporation before legendary business magnate Armand Hammer brought him into Occidental.

Hammer chose Irani to succeed him as CEO after 20 years with the firm.

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Image: Irani was an executive at Olin Corporation.

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11. Steve Burd

CEO: Safeway

Time: 18 years

Burd worked as a consultant for Arthur D. Little before joining Safeway following the company's takeover by KKR in 1986.

It took several years to reorganize the company, and by 1998 Burd was finally able to focus on expansion.

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Image: It took several years for Burd to reorganize the company.
Photographs: Reuters
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12. Richard Fairbank

CEO: Capital One

Time: 17 years

Fairbank founded the bank holding company Capital One in 1988, officially becoming CEO and chairman six years later.

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Image: Fairbank founded the company in 1988.

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13. Richard Adkerson

CEO: Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold

Time: 17 years

Adkerson took over FMCG after it spun off parent Freeport-McMoRan in 1994.

The company's mine in Indonesia is their most profitable location, but also their biggest public relations nightmare.

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Image: Adkerson took over in 1994.

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14. Gregg Engles

CEO: Dean Foods

Time: 17 years

Engles merged his ice company Reddy Ice with Suiza Dairy in 1995, and the resulting company Suiza Foods went on to buy Dean Foods.

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Image: Engles merged his company in 1995.

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15. John Chambers

CEO: Cisco Systems

Time: 16 years

Chambers worked at IBM and Wang Laboratories before joining networking tech company Cisco as a SVP in 1991.

He became CEO in 1995, and helped grow the firm into one of the world's biggest tech companies, reaching $40 billion in revenue in 2010.

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Image: He became CEO in 1995.
Photographs: Reuters
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16. John Hess

CEO: Hess Corporation

Time: 16 years

Hess' father, Leon Hess, founded Hess Oil and Chemical in the 1930s, which became Amerada Hess after a merger in 1968.

The father-son pair are the only CEOs in the history of the company, which was renamed Hess Corporation in 2006.

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Image: Hess' father founded Hess Oil and Chemical.

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17. Jeff Bezos

CEO: Amazon.com

Time: 15 years

Bezos founded Amazon as an online bookstore in 1996. Fifteen years later, Amazon sells pretty much everything, from web services to groceries.

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Image: Bezos founded Amazon in 1996.
Photographs: Reuters
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18. Charlie Ergen

CEO: DISH Network

Time: 15 years

Ergen founded DISH's predecessor parent company EchoStar Satellite in 1980 with his pal Jim DeFranco.

EchoStar spawned DISH in 1996, launching its first satellite and subscription television services. DISH split off in 2008, but Ergan maintained control.


Image: Ergen has been at the helm for 15 years.
Photographs: Reuters
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