Peter and Deborah top names for CEOs

Men tend to shorten names, women prefer full version: LinkedIn
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 04/28/2011

Male CEOs tend to use shorter versions of their names while female CEOs prefer the longer version, according to LinkedIn, the online professional network with more than 100 million public profiles in 200 countries.

The top five names for male CEOs globally are Peter, Bob, Jack, Bruce and Fred. The top five names for female CEOs globally are Deborah, Sally, Debra, Cynthia and Carolyn.

“Typically hypocorisms, the shorter form of a given name, are used in intimate situations as a nickname or a term of endearment,” said Frank Nuessel, editor of NAMES: A Journal of Onomastics (a publication of the American Name Society) and professor of classical and modern languages at the University of Louisville.

“It’s possible that sales professionals in the U.S. and male CEOs around the world use these shortened versions of their name as a way to be more approachable and accessible to potential clients. Interestingly enough, female CEOs appear to prefer to use their full names and not nicknames, which could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light.”

The top CEO name in Canada is Ray and in the United States it’s Howard. The most popular CEO names in Europe include Charles in England, Gilles in France, Xavier in Spain, Guido in Greece and Wolfgang in Germany. Bruce is the top CEO name in Australia, Rajiv is most popular in India and Roberto is tops in Brazil.

There is also a correlation between a professional’s name and the industry or functional area in which they work, said Monica Rogati, LinkedIn’s senior data scientist.

“It’s no secret that people often associate their title, employer and even their education as part of what defines them and their professional brand.”

For instance, in the United States, there’s an interesting relationship between the amount of letters and top names for professionals in certain functional areas. Sales professionals tend to have short names, around four letters (such as Chip, Todd and Trey), while engineers tend to have longer names, around six letters (such as Rajesh, Jeremy and Andrew). And U.S. professionals in the food and restaurant industry tend to have longer French names (such as Thierry, Philippe and Laurent).

The top five names for people in HR are Emma, Katie, Claire, Jennifer and Nathalie. For law enforcement, Billy, Darrell, Pete, Rodney and Troy top the list, while for athletics, Ryan, Matt, Jessica, Matthew and Jason come out on top, said LinkedIn.

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