Now that Donald Trump has become president, the mold has been broken and lots of other wealthy CEOs will throw their hats in the ring. Billionaire founder of Bloomberg L.P., Michael Bloomberg almost ran for president this time around according to reports.
A lot of hype has been made recently about Mark Zuckerberg toying with running for office. This got us thinking – what CEOs have enough name recognition or success to run for office and win? Here are our picks with analysis.
- Mark Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook and his rags to riches (well not really rags but certainly riches) story shows us the American Dream is alive and well. He has fantastic name recognition and his liberal leanings mean he would be running as a Democrat. Having a young guy run makes sense as the Democratic leadership are all old enough to have kids in AARP.
- Michael Bloomberg would appeal to a wide range of liberals and conservatives but non-libertarian policies like banning sodas of a certain size when he was mayor of New York City and his anti-gun stance make him somewhat toxic to true conservatives while his moderate stances makes him a no go for Democrats who have moved far left thanks to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg has been incredibly successful but lacks the charisma needed to get elected.
- Bill Gates went from ruthless businessman to perhaps the world’s most successful philanthropists ever. Like Zuckerberg, he would run as a Democrat. He is quite cerebral but it is tough to see how flyover country would relate to him enough to even come to his rallies – let alone vote for him.
- Satya Nadella wasn’t born in the U.S. but his turnaround of Microsoft makes him an impressive candidate for political office – just not president… Unless Congress and President Trump decide to change the constitution so foreign-born people could become president. We aren’t counting on it.
- Jamie Dimon is the CEO of J.P Morgan and one of the most respected people in business. He runs a company which has done an incredible job and is eloquent and has a calming effect on listeners. He would make a good leader of the country.
- Lloyd Blankfein as CEO of Goldman Sachs has the financial, geopolitical and business experience to make him a solid candidate for president. He lacks a bit of charisma and the country’s distaste for Wall Street make him and Dimon longshots for the highest post in the land.
- Tim Cook would obviously run as a Democrat as he has already aligned himself quite closely with the DNC. He has the operational skill to run a large enterprise but it is unclear if he has the charisma to get the job done.
- Eric Schmidt is the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, parent company of Google. Everything we said about Tim Cook applies.
- John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile is uber-charismatic, a great self-promoter, seems to have ADHD and is a prolific tweeter. Sound familiar? If Trump’s presidency is successful, this could pave the way for President Legere.
- Indra Nooyi is the super-successful CEO of Pepsi. She is charismatic and a great operations person. Sadly, she wasn’t born in the US so we can’t consider her as president.
- Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet is a great operator with a limitless imagination but he likely is not well-known enough to get anywhere near permanent residency in the White House.
- John Chambers – former CEO of Cisco did an incredible job at the company. He’s well-liked and leans right but is centered enough to appeal to liberals. He is charismatic in a country-folksy sort of way and we believe he could connect with Joe six-pack as well as the elites on the coasts.
- Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz is a successful businessman – that’s putting it mildly. Let’s say his success is a Grande, no, Trenta in a world of Shorts. He already is political so the leap wouldn’t be too great. We could see him winning the presidential contest.
- Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobile is our new Secretary of State. He has been highly successful, has great international experience and is hated by the left because his company sells oil and gas. This naturally makes him loved by the right. We could see him running for higher office.
- Larry Ellison is one of the most successful CEOs in tech. He took a company Oracle which competed in a commoditized, crowded database software market and turned his organization into a goliath through expansion, acquisition and execution. He is a fighter and very smart. We could see him making it to the White House. We just doubt he would want the job.
- Warren Buffet is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – he is beloved by Wall Street and the left – an interesting combination of devotees. He is likely too old to run but he is charismatic and funny and his detractors say his “country bumkin” demeanor is just an act which, if true, makes him an even better candidate for the job. Disclosure, Mr. Buffet was nice enough to send TMCnet a letter, thanking us for our excellent writing.
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may become the president of the US just by default. His company owns ecommerce, cloud, much of the smart home and soon we expect them to become a force in local retail as well as logistics. What a competitor – what a businessman! Moreover, he is feuding with “The Donald” – I mean “President Elect The Donald.” He may run just because he saw his arch-enemy do it successfully. Then again, they may kiss and make up at the upcoming Tech Summit.
- Mark Cuban is a fighter, a successful serial entrepreneur, is in the public spotlight and has fans on the left and right. He could easily run for public office and have a shot at the title.
- Jack Welch is considered one of the greatest business leaders of all time. He has a speech impediment and still speaks more clearly than 99.9% of CEOs out there. He knows how to run a business like no one else. He understands what the government problems are, keeping businesses down and he has a true desire to improve the lives of the ordinary American. He is also a true philanthropist. It’s just age that likely will keep him from public office – and frankly, we don’t think he wants to run.
- Herman Cain, yes the 9-9-9 guy, was more or less Donald Trump without Twitter. He’s passionate, charismatic and full of energy and lived a true rags to riches story. What kept him from becoming the Republican Nominee and President in 2012 were news reports of affairs. Will affairs be as much of an issue in a post-Trump era? We aren’t sure but we know Cain could make a great president.
- Disney CEO Bob Iger may have a shot just because of the company he runs, how successful he has been and his contacts in the business and political world. Yet, he isn’t really well-known enough to throw his hat in the ring. It’s worth noting, he has made the following quotes which ironically could have been said by Donald Trump as well. “A) The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo. B) What I’ve really learned over time is that optimism is a very, very important part of leadership. C) I get up at 4:30 in the morning, seven days a week, no matter where I am in the world.”
- Steve Wynn is CEO of Wynn Resorts – he is charismatic, a fighter and is filled with passion. Moreover he deeply cares about his workers based on virtually all interviews we have heard. These are all prime ingredients for becoming a good president.
- Sheldon Adelson launched the COMDEX trade show and took on a huge, established association computer event in the eighties. He decimated the competing show and grew COMDEX into the largest show in the US. He then went into the casino business and dominated there too – he is the CEO of Las Vegas Sands. He also founded a highly-rated school in Las Vegas. He is a fighter, a competitor and is charismatic. He is likely too old to run but would have made a great president.
- Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook is super-successful, well-respected and the Facebook name recognition would help her a great deal.
- IBM CEO Ginni Rometty is head of the company at a time when Amazon has literally disrupted much of the company’s core business through low-cost cloud services such as AWS. She is doing an admirable job in a tough environment. She has little name recognition but her company does, which could help her if she ran.
- Meg Whitman, the CEO of HPE is charismatic, has been in politics already and has supported Democrats as well as Republicans in the past. This could either broaden her appeal or kill it. In addition, her political aspirations as a Republican Governor were dashed as a result of a worker in her house being undocumented. She most recently supported Hillary Clinton for president which leads us to believe that if she ran as a Democrat today, the employment issue would be a badge of honor.
- Elon Musk is like the nerdy kid in your class that knew the answer to everything – he/she was generally shunned. Except somehow he is also like the Jock that everyone wanted to be like. In short, the perfect combo of charisma, intelligence, charm, looks, positivity and success. He has tremendous name recognition via Tesla and this can only grow over time. Moreover, he is associated with the environment and success – he could be an ideal candidate for president.
- Oprah Winfrey has been very successful in many of her endeavors. She leans left – a huge Obama supporter for example and is universally loved by many. Michael Moore who didn’t make this list for obvious reasons suggested she should run because people like her. He has a point.
The bottom line is to win as a CEO you need to have been successful, be charismatic and appeal to a wide array of demographics. The midwest has become more important than ever these last eight years so connecting with the people there while still being competitive in the south and elsewhere are important factors in winning.
We believe the two most likely people to win the presidency on this list would be Mark Zuckerberg and Oprah with Musk as runner-up. First off, Mark has typical liberal views with enough name recognition and corporate name recognition thanks to Facebook to appeal to the center as well as the coasts. Likewise, Oprah is so well known, she doesn’t even need to use her last name and would appeal to women in huge numbers while reeling in voters on the coasts. She would underperform with men however so her choice of running- mate would be an important factor.
To those of you thinking none of these people could win… Just take a look at all the experts who told us there would be no President Trump.