Fortune 500 CEOs: Like father, like son

30/05/2011

A number of our top 500 companies for 2011 built their management on bloodlines; here are 12 of them. You might say running a giant business is ‘all in the family.’

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1. Aflac

Aflac COO Paul Amos II

Fortune 500 rank: 125

Aflac’s CEO is Daniel Amos, whose father Paul Amos co-founded the quack-tastic insurance company with his two brothers — Daniel’s uncles — John and Bill Amos in 1955. It originally had the name American Family Life Insurance Company, but ‘Insurance’ was changed to Assurance in 1964 (imagine if it had been AFLIC) and the name wasn’t slimmed down to the current acronym until over three decades later.

The company is prepping yet another generation of Amos’s for leadership; Aflac’s current COO is Paul Amos II, son of CEO Daniel.


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2. State Farm

Third generation State Farm CEO Edward B. Rust Jr.

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Fortune 500 rank: 37

State Farm is there, like a good neighbor. And the company treats family even better than neighbors: CEO Edward B. Rust, Jr. took the reins from his father, Ed B. Rust, Sr., and Junior’s grandfather, Adlai Rust, was CEO before that.

Meanwhile, before the Rusts there were the Mecherles: George was the 1922 founder, and after him his son Raymond was CEO.

Edward Rust, Jr. is also on the board of McGraw-Hill, and is said to be friendly with its CEO.


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3. Comcast

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

Fortune 500 rank: 66

Comcast is headed up by Brian Roberts, whose father Ralph Roberts is a co-founder of the cable giant, along with Daniel Aaron and Julian Brodsky.

Initially called American Cable Systems, Comcast has made major strides in customer service, which helped it receive high marks on our recent customer service Twitter test.


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4. Hess Corporation

Hess CEO John Hess, son of Founder Leon Hess

Fortune 500 rank: 74

Hess Corporation continues to thrive, and it isn’t from those Hess trucks — you know, the ones they advertise at Christmas that aren’t only beloved by children (just search eBay).

John Hess, the current CEO, is the son of former CEO and company founder Leon Hess, who owned the New York Jets until Woody Johnson bought the team in 2000 after Leon’s death.

The gas supplier continues to remain an iconic oil outlet in America.


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5. Loews Corporation

Former Loews CEO Laurence Tisch

Fortune 500 rank: 168

Loews Corporation — not to be confused with the movie theatres, though there once was a connection — is the massive holding company run by James Tisch, who inherited the CEO reins from his father, Laurence Tisch.

Laurence purchased a portion of Loew’s theatres with his brother Robert back in 1959, and the two eventually went on to expand the brand to other businesses. Now the theatres that still bear their family’s name are separately owned and operated.

Though James is CEO, the rest of the top dogs are all Tisch men as well: Andrew and Jonathan Tisch are co-Chairmen of the Board.


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6. Marriott International

Marriott International Founder J. Willard Marriott

Fortune 500 rank: 210

Marriott International, like the Hess Corporation, shares its name with the family that runs it. CEO J.W. Marriott, Jr. is the son of founder J. Willard Marriott, who started the company in 1927 as a root beer stand with his wife.


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7. Nordstrom

Fourth generation Nordstrom frontman Blake Nordstrom

Fortune 500 rank: 254

Nordstrom, the retail giant that currently has Blake Nordstrom at its helm, has perhaps the longest family line of these companies. Blake is the fourth generation of Nordstroms to run the company; the founder was his great grandfather John W. Nordstrom, who came from Sweden and began the business as a small shoe store. It grew from there, of course.


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8. Family Dollar

Family Dollar head Howard Levine

Fortune 500 rank: 302

Family Dollar is the supermarket chain founded by Leon Levine when he was just 21 years old in 1959. His son Howard now runs the company, and has expanded the chain outside of the South, though it is still headquartered in North Carolina.

Since the turn of the century Levine has added over 3,000 new stores.


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9. Cablevision Systems

Cablevision head and New York Knicks owner James Dolan

Fortune 500 rank: 321

Cablevision Systems, the New York-centric cable provider, is led with an iron fist by James Dolan, who is also executive chairman of Madison Square Garden Entertainment, which means that he has a management role over the Knicks and Rangers.

Cablevision’s founder and Jim’s father, Charles Dolan, is still active in the company as its Chairman.


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10. Dillard’s

Dillard’s CEO William Dillard II

Fortune 500 rank: 370

Dillard’s has its CEO in William Dillard II, son of William Dillard, Sr., who founded the chain. Meanwhile, Senior’s other son Alex is also on board as the President. CEO Dillard II happens to be a member of the Board of Directors at Barnes & Noble.

At last count, Dillard’s had just under 350 stores. The chain is currently experiencing great stock success, having hit a 52-week high in April.


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11. McGraw-Hill

Third generation McGraw-Hill CEO Harold McGraw III

Fortune 500 rank: 372

McGraw-Hill has been the mainstay of the McGraw family for decades. James McGraw founded the publishing outlet with John Hill in 1917 before the leadership seat was eventually given to Harold McGraw Jr. in 1974 (Sr. was never CEO). Since 1998, the CEO has been his son, Harold McGraw III, who is great-grandson of founder James.

McGraw-Hill owns a number of iconic publishing outlets like J.D. Power & Associates and the financial research company (and indispensable business reporter’s tool) Standard & Poor’s.


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12. Dick’s Sporting Goods

Dick’s CEO Ed Stack

• NEW! Fortune 500+: Your tool for getting inside America’s biggest companies

Fortune 500 rank: 464

Dick’s Sporting Goods bears the name of founder Dick Stack, but it’s his son, Ed, who now sits in the CEO chair. It’s a relatively young venture (having been founded in 1948) compared to some of the other companies on the 500.

Dick’s stores are mostly on the East Coast, and have earned a name as an affordable stop for sports apparel; the iconic hunter green logo is readily recognizable to sports fans.

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