Then and Now – CEOs

Everybody starts their career somewhere,even CEOs. Below are some interesting profiles of CEOs and how they broke into the business world:

Gary Kelly

CEO, Southwest Airlines


  • First job after college:CPA for Arthur Young & Co. in Dallas
  • Responsibilities: staff auditor,CPA
  • Annual pay (2006 dollars): $47,996
  • College: University of Texas,Austin
  • Degree:BBA, accounting
  • Year of graduation: 1977


  • Started with Southwest: 1986
  • First job title: controller
  • Current annual pay (2005): $748,699 Stock options (2005): 10,617
  • Company sales (2005):$7.6 billion 
  • Net income (2005): $548 million
  • Employees (2005): 31,000
  • Other companies on resume: Systems Center
  • “[My first job] was an awesome learning experience about working with people and about business. And it was a lot of work. I had the second-highest overtime in the Dallas office”

Judy McGrath

CEO, MTV Networks


  • First job after college: writer, WEJL, Scranton, Pa.
  • Responsibilities: writing copy for radio DJs Annual pay (2006 dollars): NA (“I had six roommates in a one-bedroom apartment, if that tells you anything.”)
  • College: Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pa.
  • Degree: bachelor’s, English literature
  • Year of graduation: 1974


  • First job title: writer, on-air promotion/creative director
  • Company sales (2005): $6.8 billion
  • Net profits (2005): $2.6 billion
  • Other companies on resume: Condé Nast, Rock the Vote
  • “Trust your own instincts, but know that the listener/reader is the boss. And music is the highest art.”

Andrew C. Taylor

CEO, Enterprise Rent-A-Car


  • First job after college: RLM Leasing, a Ford Motor affiliate in San Francisco
  • Responsibilities: leasing and sales
  • Annual pay (2006 dollars): $54,409
  • College: University of Denver
  • Degree: bachelor’s, business administration
  • Year of graduation: 1970


  • Started with Enterprise: 1964
  • First job title: car prep and management trainee during high school Company sales (2005): $8.2 billion
  • Employees (2005): 65,000
  • Other companies on resume: none
  • “I started learning this business when I was 16, washing cars at one of our St. Louis offices. At the time, Enterprise was primarily local leasing company with few locations. Now we have more than 6,900 locations worldwide….I’m proud of our growth and dedication to customer and employee satisfaction — the things that have made this incredible ride possible.”

View more profiles at: First Jobs: Lessons Learned. [BusinessWeek Onlne]

Career Hacker * * By Bill Inman *


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