The #2 Executive at 25 Iconic American Companies

#2 Executive

by Kyla Camille Nievera, Executive Chronicles |

More often than not, CEO’s get the bulk of the credit for successful executive business leadership.  Leaders like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page need no introduction and are often credited with the success of their respective companies.

However new research from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that we may learn more about business leadership from the second-in-command rather than the CEO of the company.  At many major companies, being second in command is not a step down in leadership.  For younger generations, career ladders aren’t a thing.  They see lateral moves a step of progress within an organization.

To help illustrate this point, a group of hiring methodology consultants at Topgrading took a look at the second-in-command at twenty five of the most iconic American companies. The reason for doing this was to try and measure the impact of these number two executives by analyzing their background and their role within the company.  You can see their full analysis in the infographic below.

Some of the more notable #2s include:


  • Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook whose net worth is over $1.6 billion. Sandberg is responsible for Facebook’s global presence, and for managing sales, marketing, business development, legal, human resources, public policy, privacy and communications.
  • Sundar Pichai is the number two at Google.  His net worth is over $650 million.  He currently oversees search, ads, maps, the Google Play Store, YouTube and Android.  Not a bad set of responsibilities for Larry Pages right hand man.
  • Charles Munger is the Vice Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway.  While Warren Buffett gets a lot of press for being the CEO and President, Munger is far from a small fish with a net worth of over $1.47 billion.  Before joining Berkshire Hathaway, Munger ran Wesco Financial Corporation, a highly successful investment firm that was acquired by Berkshire.  Munger’s role is now primarily an advisory role and continues to be known as Buffett’s right hand man.


To see the full list, check out the full infographic from Topgrading.