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The Fortune 500 represents the 500 largest companies in the world. These companies together make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits every year and employ millions of people.

But what’s it like being a leader in a company with over a million employees? That’s a huge responsibility. These CEOs are seasoned leaders, many of whom have led other companies to greatness before joining their current company. Some even led other Fortune 500 companies.

From famous founder-CEOs like Warren Buffett and Amazon's Jeff Bezos to CEOs you’ve never even heard of, each one has a unique experience and lesson to share about leadership.

We’ve compiled leadership quotes from Fortune 500 CEOs — and explain what it all means for leaders in companies of all sizes.

1. Charles F. Lowrey, Prudential Financial

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Image courtesy of Prudential Financial

"There's no better way to know a business than to begin to manage it through a crisis."

—In an interview with Pensions & Investments.

Charles F. Lowrey is the CEO of Prudential Financial, a company that offers multiple financial services products such as insurance, loans, retirement solutions and more. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 50,492 employees and annual revenues of $63 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Taking over any team when times are good feels awesome. The team is strong, profit is good and everything seems possible. But real leaders emerge when times are tough — when everything seems to be going wrong and you can't quite figure things out. These are the real tests of character that determine who is a leader.

Leadership lesson: Leaders are made in times of crisis.

2. Juan Ricardo Luciano, Archer Daniels Midland

ceo
Agencia Argentina de Inversiones y Comercio Internacional / YouTube

“We recognize that our success as a company and as an industry relies on developing, creating and growing an inclusive culture and diverse workforce."

—Said in a news release.

Juan Ricardo Luciano is the CEO of Archer Daniels Midland, one of the world's largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers. He has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 31,600 employees and annual revenues of $64.3 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Major companies can, and do, take a stand on diversity and inclusion at work. With studies showing that diverse companies are more profitable, more companies want to bring diversity into the workplace. But diversity is not just about identity — it's also about life experience and the way people think. Every person on the planet has their own diverse experiences to bring to the table.

Leadership lesson: Success comes from teamwork.

3. Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo

ceo
Global Positive Forum / YouTube

"At @PepsiCo, we believe in #WinningWithPurpose. Our ambition is to win sustainably in the marketplace, while doing good for the planet and our communities."

—From Twitter.

Ramon Laguarta is the CEO of PepsiCo, a multinational beverage and snack company. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 267,000 employees and annual revenues of $64.7 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Laguarta took over as CEO of PepsiCo after Indra Nooyi stepped down. He had big shoes to fill, and this quote is all about having a purpose to add to the organization. This will help employees directly see how their actions connect to making the world a better place.

Leadership lesson: Think about your community outside of work.

4. Frederick W. Smith, FedEx

ceo
Fortune Magazine / YouTube

“Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something."

—Said according to LogoMaker.

Frederick W. Smith is the CEO of FedEx, a shipping company (famously founded from an idea that started with a college paper at Yale that got a C+). He has been in the CEO role since 1998 and oversees 359,000 employees and annual revenues of $65.5 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Everyone gets scared. Even the most brave people in the world feel fear sometimes. The difference is that the most brave and courageous leaders don't let fear stop them from taking action. When you let fear stop you from taking action, fear wins. But when you act in spite of your fear, you win.

Leadership lesson: Don't fear failure.

5. Gregory Hayes, United Technologies

ceo
Collins Aerospace / YouTube

“I think trying to find a rational, reasonable solution is imperative here in the near term."

—Told to CNBC.

Gregory Hayes is the CEO of United Technologies, a technology holding company that owns tons of brands operating around the world. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 240,200 employees and annual revenues of $66.5 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: He said this as part of a conversation on United Technologies' 2018 break up, but it holds true for almost any business problem.

Leadership lesson: Be rational and reasonable, but solutions-focused.

6. David S. Taylor, Procter & Gamble

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Image courtesy of Procter & Gamble

"There’s a big space between uncomfortable enough and too uncomfortable, and that’s where growth and innovation thrive."

—From a LinkedIn post.

David S. Taylor is the CEO of Procter & Gamble, a global consumer packaged goods (CPG) holding company that owns many brands like Charmin and Bounty. He has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 92,000 employees and annual revenues of $66.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Humans are not designed to like discomfort. Our bodies and minds react in the same way: we want it to stop. But innovation and creativity comes from being uncomfortable. If you let yourself be uncomfortable for a bit, your mind has a different reaction. Instead of trying to get out of the situation, your mind tries to solve it. That's when you get creative solutions to problems you never thought possible.

Leadership lesson: Be OK being uncomfortable.

7. Steven A. Kandarian, MetLife

ceo
MetLife / YouTube

"It is important for companies to take a public stand and advocate for policies that are in the best interest of their customers, employees and shareholders."

—From a final letter to shareholders.

Steven A. Kandarian is the CEO of MetLife, a global insurance and employee benefits provider. He has been in the CEO role since 2011 and oversees 48,000 employees and annual revenues of $67.9 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Most people have fundamental beliefs that guide their lives. These could be from childhood, from school, or developed in adulthood, but they are there. As a leader, though, many companies ask you to put your values aside and only do your job. However, that's now what true leadership is. Leaders must stand up for their customers and their team, no matter what. Because those groups of people are what make businesses successful.

Leadership lesson: Take a stand for something you believe in.

8. Bob Swan, Intel

ceo
CNBC International / YouTube

"We're obviously investing in the capital required to ensure we don't constrain our customers' growth."

—From a call with shareholders.

Bob Swan is the CEO of Intel, a global technology firm that makes microchips and processors for computers. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 107,400 employees and annual revenues of $70.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Spend money on your own growth.

When customers love your business, they really love it. They can't get enough and always want more. Companies often fight to keep up, but may fall short. If they do fall short, it's usually because they didn't invest enough to keep up with demand. The same goes for leaders as people — if you don't invest in yourself, you won't be able to keep up with demand for when everyone wants you and your work.

Leadership lesson: Invest in yourself and your team.

9. Marvin Ellison, Lowe's

ceo
Carolina Business Review / YouTube

"One of our core behaviors is to show courage, and I ask you to demonstrate that by raising opportunities that need to be addressed."

—From an internal memo.

Marvin Ellison is the CEO of Lowe's, a major chain of home improvement stores. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 245,000 employees and annual revenues of $71.3 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Showing courage can be hard to do. For example, you may know something your boss said is wrong, but you are worried you can't say anything because they are your boss. But leaders must always show courage, not only because it's necessary to improve businesses but also because they need to model courage for their teams.

Leadership lesson: Be courageous and step up.

10. David P. Abney, United Parcel Service (UPS)

ceo
CNBC / YouTube

"It’s no good when a company progresses more slowly than its customers."

—Told to CEO Magazine.

David P. Abney is the CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS), a shipping company that operates around the world, famous for its brown colors. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 364,575 employees and annual revenues of $71.9 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Customer demands always shift with the times. Fashions change, needs change and so do customer wants. However, the evolution of customer demand — how quickly they change their desires — also changes. A good leader must keep up. If you don't move as fast as your customers, you'll be left behind. If you move too quickly, though, you may alienate your customers. It's all about finding a balance.

Leadership lesson: Match your customers' pace of innovation.

11. David Brickman, Freddie Mac

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Image courtesy of Freddie Mac

"[We cannot rest] on our laurels when it comes to innovations."

—Said in a call with shareholders.

David Brickman is the CEO of Freddie Mac, which is a secondary mortgage buyer that helps mortgage lenders have more cash on hand. He has been in the CEO role since 2019 and oversees 6,621 employees and annual revenues of $73.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: A lot of people fight for success. But when they get it, they stop fighting. They get lazy. Or they think they know better than everyone. While being successful once can make you a lot of money (and you can learn a lot), you should never stop completely. You always have to keep going. A good leader never assumes that being successful once means you will always be successful.

Leadership lesson: Don't get lazy.

12. Brian Cornell, Target

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Image courtesy of Target

"The challenges we face as a company and a society will continue to evolve, but we will keep moving."

—Said in a message to shareholders.

Brian Cornell is the CEO of Target, a giant American retailer. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 360,000 employees and annual revenues of $75.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Change always happens, but the kind of change or type of change will, well, change. Leaders need to be ready for change in general, but it's tough to know what kind of changes are coming down the pipeline. However, leaders must focus on being as prepared as possible. Then, when the changes come, continue moving forward.

Leadership lesson: Never stop moving.

13. Ginni Rometty, IBM

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Image courtesy of IBM

"Your value will be not what you know; it will be what you share."

—Said at a Council of Foreign Relations event.

Ginni Rometty is the CEO of IBM, one of the oldest technology companies in the world. She has been in the CEO role since 2012 and oversees 381,100 employees and annual revenues of $79.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: When you learn something new, don't keep it to yourself. Knowledge is power, and good leaders help other people learn. So instead of holding everything in, the best leaders openly share.

Leadership lesson: Share your knowledge with others.

14. Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson

ceo
CNBC / YouTube

"It is important to have an open dialogue with your employees, clients and other stakeholders. Psychological safety is key to all effective teams."

—Said to Wharton School student Robert Chen.

Alex Gorsky is the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, a packaged goods holding company focused on well-being products. He has been in the CEO role since 2012 and oversees 135,100 employees and annual revenues of $81.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: The concept of psychological safety is fairly new in the workplace. It means that people should feel they can share their opinions without being attacked or mocked. Leaders want to create as much psychological safety as possible for their team, because that way they can always bring new ideas to the table. While not every idea will work, being able to freely communicate is important for the health of the company.

Leadership lesson: Always be willing to have a conversation.

15. Michael L. Tipsord, State Farm Insurance

ceo
Mike Firmand / YouTube

"Our success in serving our customers, that is what will ultimately determine the opportunities that are available to all of us."

—From Twitter.

Michael L. Tipsord is the CEO of State Farm Insurance, a global insurance provider for homes, cars and more. He has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 56,788 employees and annual revenues of $81.7 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Leaders need to consider how customers fit into the equation of leadership. It's not just managing your team anymore — your team and your company will likely be interacting with customers on a regular basis, either in person or on the internet. That means creating a customer service mentality is crucial for success.

Leadership lesson: Serve customers first.

16. Jim Fitterling, DuPont de Nemours, part of Dow Chemical

ceo
Bloomberg Markets and Finance / YouTube

"To be competitive, you need to have a culture that people want to come into and stay a part of."

—From Twitter.

Jim Fitterling is the CEO of DuPont de Nemours, part of Dow Chemical, a global chemical manufacturing company. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 98,000 employees and annual revenues of $86 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: "Culture" has many different meanings. But all of them have one thing in common: you can feel when it's working. A good leader thinks about how company culture feels serves their team. If people love their work, they will want to stay.

Leadership lesson: Build a welcoming team culture.

17. Michael S. Dell, Dell Technologies

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Image courtesy of Dell Technologies

"Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people. Or find a different room."

—From YourStory.

Michael S. Dell is the CEO and founder of Dell Technologies, a global manufacturer of computers and other technologies. He has been in the CEO role since 2007 and oversees 157,000 employees and annual revenues of $90.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: In the old world, people thought the CEO was the smartest person in the company. While the CEO does need to be intelligent, they shouldn't be the smartest person in the company. Great leaders surround themselves with experts. The job of the leader, then, is not to be smarter than everyone, but to bring everyone together.

Leadership lesson: Surround yourself with smart people.

18. Gail Koziara Boudreaux, Anthem

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Image courtesy of Anthem

"I do want to lead an enterprise where I can make a difference."

—From Fortune.

Gail Koziara Boudreaux is the CEO of Anthem, a large provider of health insurance in the United States. She has been in the CEO role since 2017 and oversees 63,900 employees and annual revenues of $92.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: CEOs are often very well paid, but making an impact is worth more than money. In any leadership opportunity, the real focus should be on how you can make a real difference — for your employees, your community and the world.

Leadership lesson: Go where you can make a difference.

19. Brian L. Roberts, Comcast

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Image courtesy of Comcast

"You have to have a business model you believe in and like."

—Reported by BrainyQuote.

Brian L. Roberts is the CEO of Comcast, one of the biggest providers of cable television service in the U.S. He has been in the CEO role since 2002 and oversees 184,000 employees and annual revenues of $94.5 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Many businesses jump on a trend because they think it's the "next big thing." The real success stories, though, come from people who are doing work they believe in. It's not about fads — it's about being honest with what you like.

Leadership lesson: Be honest.

20. Gary R. Heminger, Marathon Petroleum

ceo
Bloomberg Markets and Finance / YouTube

"Our success is due to our committed employees and the culture we all help to create and sustain."

—From an interview with LeadersMag.

Gary R. Heminger is the CEO of Marathon Petroleum, a major oil refining company. He has been in the CEO role since 2011 and oversees 60,350 employees and annual revenues of $97.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: It's easy to give up. When times are tough, you may want to throw in the towel. That will never bring success. Instead, you have to stay committed to the cause and committed to doing whatever you need to in order to succeed.

Leadership lesson: Focus on committment and building a great culture.

21. Michael Corbat, Citigroup

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Image courtesy of Citigroup

"Where our industry has fallen short before is the organic, sustainable piece of [bringing women and minorities into banking and retaining them.]"

—From Fortune magazine.

Michael Corbat is the CEO of Citigroup, a global bank with operations in the United States and Canada. He has been in the CEO role since 2012 and oversees 204,000 employees and annual revenues of $97.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Everyone makes mistakes — no one is perfect. But it takes a strong leader to admit mistakes and admit what went wrong in the past. Taking action to solve the problem is the next step, but for many people just being able to admit a mistake is a huge step forward.

Leadership lesson: Learn from your mistakes. Inclusion is good for business.

22. C. Allen Parker, Wells Fargo

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Image courtesy of Wells Fargo

"I want to make the legal department of Wells Fargo a beacon for other departments in ethics."

—From an interview with Reuters.

C. Allen Parker is the CEO of Wells Fargo, an American banking giant headquartered in San Francisco. He has been in the CEO role since 2019 and oversees 258,700 employees and annual revenues of $101.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Wells Fargo has been in the headlines for making some pretty high-profile mistakes. This quote is about redemption. When something goes wrong, you don't have to cancel it or shut it down. You can make it right.

Leadership lesson: You can learn a lot from failure.

23. Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing

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Image courtesy of Boeing

"Lives literally depend on what we do."

—According to BrainyQuote.

Dennis Muilenburg is the CEO of Boeing, a global aircraft manufacturer. He has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 153,000 employees and annual revenues of $101.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Whether your company makes fun toys or literally keeps people alive, you need to own what you provide to the world. If you don't, you run the risk of making a careless error that could seriously harm your business or your customers.

Leadership lesson: Own the impact of your work.

24. Craig Menear, Home Depot

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Image courtesy of Home Depot

"We are in the project business. The first step is to try to protect the customer and the project. We will do everything we can to try to take other costs out of the business."

—From an interview with CNBC.

Craig Menear is the CEO of Home Depot, which is a global home goods retailer focused on building and renovation products. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 413,000 employees and annual revenues of $108.2 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Some companies think of themselves as either "product businesses" or "service businesses." It takes a different way of thinking to realize that your business may be completely different from what you thought it was. When you figure that out, great things can happen.

Leadership lesson: Think outside the box.

25. Satya Nadella, Microsoft

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Image courtesy of Microsoft

"Be passionate and bold. Always keep learning. You stop doing useful things if you don't learn."

—From an interview with DigitalTrends.

Satya Nadella is the CEO of Microsoft, a global software and technology company famously founded by Bill Gates. Nadella has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 131,000 employees and annual revenues of $110.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Whenever life throws a problem at you, approach it with boldness. Be determined. Life will be tough at times, but you won't accomplish anything if you stop taking action because of fear.

Leadership lesson: Approach your work with passion.

26. Brian T. Moynihan, Bank of America

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Image courtesy of Bank of America

"Listening to how customers, our employees and our shareholders answer the question 'What would you like the power to do?' is how we learn what matters most to them."

—From a letter to shareholders.

Brian T. Moynihan is the CEO of Bank of America, a major banking company offering a wide variety of services across the U.S. He has been in the CEO role since 2010 and oversees 204,489 employees and annual revenues of $110.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Many companies and leaders assume they know what's best for their customers. That's how business used to run. But now, customers are more informed than ever. They know what they like and they want to be part of the process. Asking them questions will give you far better insight than making assumptions ever could.

Leadership lesson: Ask your customers what they want.

27. Joseph W. Gorder, Valero Energy

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Image courtesy of Valero Energy

"I don't get energized by being in large groups of people, I prefer to be in smaller groups."

—As told to the San Antonio Alliance of Men.

Joseph W. Gorder is the CEO of Valero Energy, the world's largest independent petroleum refiner. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 10,261 employees and annual revenues of $111.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Most CEOs and other leaders are extroverts — they love working with other people. But being an introvert doesn't mean you're not a good leader or can't do the job. It just means that you have a different approach to dealing with people. Embrace your differences when it comes to leadership roles — you might inspire others.

Leadership lesson: It's okay to be different.

28. Greg C. Garland, Phillips 66

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Image courtesy of Phillips 66

“Find a company you’re aligned with and that you can work for long-term — hopefully for 40 years — and that challenges you."

—In an interview with Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Greg C. Garland is the CEO of Phillips 66, a diversified energy and manufacturing logistics company. He has been in the CEO role since 2012 and oversees 14,200 employees and annual revenues of $114.2 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Many people pick places to work based on short-term gains. You'll be working for decades in your career, so picking a place that only makes sense for a year or two means you'll be jumping around more than you want to.

Leadership lesson: Go where you're challenged, and grow there.

29. Hugh R. Frater, Fannie Mae

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Image courtesy of Fannie Mae

"The saying that we have around the company is sort of like New York City subways: 'If you see something, say something.' If you see something that we're doing that doesn't make any sense, then tell us."

—In an interview with The New York Times

Hugh R. Frater is the CEO of Fannie Mae, a company that helps finance mortgage lenders, making it easier for people to get mortgages to buy homes. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 7,400 employees and annual revenues of $120.1 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: When you see something's wrong at work, it's your responsibility to speak up. Then you can work with other people to solve the problem. If you don't, then you risk that problem growing to such a big size that it can't be solved. If everyone speaks up, then problems can be easily solved while they are still small.

Leadership lesson Speak up.

30. H. Lawrence Culp Jr., General Electric

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Image courtesy of General Electric

"There really is no age not to embrace challenges. Make your own decisions, take risks."

—In an interview with the Harbus, Harvard Business School's student publication.

H. Lawrence Culp Jr. is the CEO of General Electric, a global industrial conglomerate. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 283,000 employees and annual revenues of $120.3 billion as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: No matter how old or young you are, the world is always changing and you will need to change with it. Your age shouldn't be a factor — taking risks is something all humans should do.

Leadership lesson: Take risks.

31. Rodney McMullen, Kroger

ceo
Kroger | YouTube

"We have to be able to do whatever we think is appropriate to continue to grow our business."

—In an interview with CNBC.

Rodney McMullen is the CEO of Kroger, America's largest operator of traditional supermarkets. He has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 453,000 employees and annual revenues of $121.2 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: A business exists to serve its shareholders, provide employment and work in the community. In order to accomplish that, leaders need to do what they have to in order to make that success a reality.

Leadership lesson: Do what you need to do.

32. Hans Vestberg, Verizon Communications

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Image courtesy of Verizon Communications

“We have to study new technologies so that we may harness their power for the greater good [of] society."

—Stated in a news release.

Hans Vestberg is the CEO of Verizon Communications, a global communications company focused on providing phone, internet and wireless services. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 144,500 employees and annual revenues of $130.9 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Vestberg talks about thinking of technology and how it could impact the world. That means leaders have a responsibility to think about how their work can create good for society. It's not enough to create for the sake of profit.

Leadership lesson: Focus on the greater good.

33. Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase

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Image courtesy of World Economic Forum / Wikimedia Commons

—In an interview with Business Insider.

"Most decisions are not binary, and there are usually better answers waiting to be found if you do the analysis and involve the right people."

Jamie Dimon is the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, a global banking powerhouse that offers pretty much any banking service you could possibly need, from ordinary banking all the way to taking companies public. He has been in the CEO role since 2005 and oversees 256,105 employees and annual revenues of $131.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Jamie Dimon is constantly winning recognition for his work with JPMorgan Chase. He focuses primarily on creative, new ways of solving problems.

Leadership lesson: Be creative.

34. Stefano Pessina, Walgreens Boots Alliance

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Image courtesy of Alliance Boots Abcomms / Wikimedia Commons

"I don't have the arrogance to criticize what our competitors are doing."

—In an interview with CNBC.

Stefano Pessina is the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., a global pharmacy chain. He has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 299,000 employees and annual revenues of $131.5 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Be humble. It's easy to think you know the best way to get something done, but mocking your competitors will not bring you success. If you spend your time criticizing your competitors instead of paying attention to what they do, you may fall behind.

Leadership lesson: Stay humble.

35. Michael C. Kaufmann, Cardinal Health

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Image courtesy of Cardinal Health

"We are committed to approaching our cost structure and operations diligently and responsibly. This includes creating a culture in which every manager is asking what we should do versus what we could do, and what we should spend versus what we could spend."

—From a shareholder letter.

Michael C. Kaufmann is the CEO of Cardinal Health, a health care services company focused on improving the cost-effectiveness of health care. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 50,200 employees and annual revenues of $136.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: When a leader is tasked with growing the organization, it can't be at any cost. There are always investments that are more valuable than others, and a good leader needs to look to their team to figure out helpful versus harmful spending.

Leadership lesson: Stay diligent.

36. Larry Page, Alphabet

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Image courtesy of JStone / Shutterstock

"You have to combine both things: Invention and innovation."

—Said in a TED Talk.

Larry Page is the CEO of Alphabet, the holding company for Google and its subsidiaries. The Google co-founder has been in the CEO role since 2015 and oversees 98,771 employees and annual revenues of $136.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Being smart is not enough to be successful — you have to be able to create something and then get it to market. While being smart helps create things faster, if you don't have the people around you to help get things to market, you won't build a successful organization.

Leadership lesson: Help get things to market. Being smart is not enough.

37. Walter Craig Jelinek, Costco Wholesale

ceo
Money Inc

"The buck stops with me."

—In an interview with The Motley Fool.

Walter Craig Jelinek is the CEO of Costco Wholesale, a leading chain of warehouse club stores. He has been in the CEO role since 2012 and oversees 194,000 employees and annual revenues of $141.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: As a leader, Jelinek is ultimately responsible for what his team does and the results of those actions. If someone messes up, he has to take responsibility. And that means that as a leader he wants to make sure he makes a great place to work where smart people can make great decisions.

Leadership lesson: Act with integrity.

38. Mary Barra, General Motors

ceo
General Motors

"Do every job you're in like you're going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it."

—In an interview with Investor's Business Daily.

Mary Barra is the CEO of General Motors, a global car manufacturer and holding company. She has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 173,000 employees and annual revenues of $147 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: When you get hired for a job, assume that you're going to stay with that company for a very long time. If you don't commit to the long-term, you won't be able to grow.

Leadership lesson: Act with commitment.

39. James Hackett, Ford Motor Co.

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Image courtesy of Maize & Blue Nation / Flickr

"We need to attract and retain talent for the kinds of design problems we face."

—In an interview with Business Insider.

James Hackett is the CEO of Ford Motor Co., one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world. He has been in the CEO role since 2017 and oversees 199,000 employees and revenues of $160.3 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Every company has challenges no matter how big and successful they get. And in order to solve problems, you need a great team of people.

Leadership lesson: Build strong teams focused that will help your company tackle problems.

40. Michael Wirth, Chevron

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Image courtesy of Chevron

"Good times won't last forever, so you can't change your cost structure, or make unwise investment choices."

—In an interview with Investor's Business Daily.

Michael Wirth is the CEO of Chevron, which is a global energy company that was founded as a successor company to Standard Oil, founded by John D. Rockefeller. He has been in the CEO role since 2018 and oversees 48,600 employees and annual revenues of $166.3 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Stay diligent. Chevron has been a wildly profitable company, making billions over the years — but it only got that way because of responsible decision making.

Leadership lesson: Don't let profits go to your head.

41. Steven Collis, AmerisourceBergen

ceo
AmerisourceBergen

"It’s so unfortunate that people don't recognize the responsibility they have."

—In an interview with BizJournal.

Steven Collis is the CEO of AmerisourceBergen, a leading pharmaceutical company. He has been in the CEO role since 2011 and oversees 20,500 employees and annual revenues of $167.9 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: No matter what your circumstances are, you probably have some sort of responsibility to someone or something. That could be your job, family or friends. You have to recognize it and own it. Running away from responsibility is a surefire way to end up losing out in the end.

Leadership lesson: Be dutiful.

42. Randall Stephenson, AT&T

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Image courtesy of AT&T

—In an interview with the New York Times.

"There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop"

Randall Stephenson is the CEO of AT&T, which is a global telecommunications giant that offers cellphone and internet service. He has been in the CEO role since 2007 and oversees 268,220 employees and annual revenues of $170.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: As the world changes and evolves, there will be new technologies, products and processes that you've never heard of before. Learn about them. You don't need to become an expert in everything, but if you learn a little bit every day, over time you'll not only keep up, but be ahead of the curve.

Leadership lesson: Always be learning.

43. Larry Merlo, CVS Health

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Image courtesy of CVS Health

"We will challenge and disrupt the status quo"

—In an interview with CNBC.

Larry Merlo is the CEO of CVS Health, which operates a national chain of pharmacies across the United States, and which recently acquired the health insurance provider Aetna. He has been in the CEO role since 2011 and oversees 295,000 employees and annual revenues of $194.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Change and innovate. If you aren't trying to improve, you will be left behind. Instead of being scared of change, embrace it.

Leadership lesson: Don't be afraid to disrupt the status quo.

44. Brian S. Tyler, McKesson

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Image courtesy of McKesson

"Meet the needs of the [customer] wherever it suits them."

—From an earnings call with analysts.

Brian S. Tyler is the CEO of McKesson, a large pharmaceutical and health information technology company that provides different services like care management tools and medical supplies. He has been in the CEO role since 2019 and oversees 68,000 employees and annual revenues of $208.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: McKesson is a healthcare company, so their customers are patients. However, this quote applies to any leader. If you meet the needs of your customers, they are more likely to continue buying from you. And if you meet them where it suits them — not where it suits you — then you're even more likely to succeed. Don't be afraid to go the extra mile for your customers. They'll reward you for it.

Leadership lesson: The customer comes first.

45. David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group

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CNBC / YouTube

"Consistency in high-quality care, consumer experience and value build trust and loyalty"

—From an earnings call.

David Wichmann is the CEO of UnitedHealth Group, a one of the largest providers of health insurance. He has been in the CEO role since 2017 and oversees 300,000 employees and annual revenues of $226.2 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Consistency is one of the most underrated traits in leadership and business. When you do something consistently, you compound the effects over time. You cement your work, your good deeds and your reputation.

Leadership lesson: Don't be afraid of consistency — it's a very, very good thing.

46. Jeff Bezos, Amazon

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lev radin / Shutterstock

“Life’s too short to hang out with people who aren't resourceful."

—From Referral Candy.

Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon, the global e-commerce behemoth. He has been in the CEO role since 1996 and oversees 647,500 employees and annual revenues of $232.9 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Surround yourself with smart people. We take on the traits of the people we spend the most time with, so spending time with resourceful people will make you more resourceful over time.

Leadership lesson: Pay attention to who you spend time with.

47. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway

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Krista Kennell / Shutterstock

"You can't make a good deal with a bad person."

—From Business Insider.

Warren Buffett is the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a large holding company that invests in various businesses in industries including real estate and insurance. He has been in the CEO role since 1967 and oversees 389,000 employees and annual revenues of $247.8 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Deals are always done with people, meaning you are working with another human (or group of humans) at the end of the day. Contracts may dictate terms, but it's humans who choose to listen to those terms or not. If you try to do business with a bad person, there's no amount of good terms that will help you.

Leadership lesson: Be selective.

48. Tim Cook, Apple

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John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock

“Let your joy be in your journey — not in some distant goal."

—From Acadoceo.

Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple, which is a global technology retailer, famous for products like the iPod, iPhone and Mac computers. He has been in the CEO role since 2011 and oversees 132,000 employees and annual revenues of $265.6 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: We wall want success and to be great, but if you only ever care about the end goals, you'll never be happy. This is because the end goal is always changing. You may want to be rich, but the definition of "rich" changes all the time depending on where you are and what year it is. Instead, take the advice that the journey should be as important as the destination.

Leadership lesson: Take pleasure in the steps on the journey, don't just focus on the destination.

49. Darren Woods, Exxon Mobil

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Image courtesy of Exxon Mobil

“The way you get the most out of people and the way you get to the best solutions and the best ideas is by engaging in constructive debate with a diversity of opinions and ideas."

—In an interview with the Financial Times.

Darren Woods is the CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies. It's also one of the biggest publicly traded companies in the world. Woods has been in the CEO role since 2017 and oversees 71,000 employees and annual revenues of $290.2 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: Creating great solutions — even for old industries like oil and gas — requires creative thinking. That comes from having people from diverse backgrounds and experiences who can contribute new voices to the conversation.

Leadership lesson: Encourage diversity on your teams and encourage people to speak up. Make sure that everyone has a seat at the table.

50. Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart

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Image courtesy of Shane Bevel / Walmart

"There is no growth without change, and there is no meaningful change without risk."

—In an interview with Business Insider.

Doug McMillon is the CEO of Walmart, the global discount retailer. The company operates thousands of retail stores across the world and has a massive e-commerce presence. McMillon has been in the CEO role since 2014 and oversees 2,200,000 employees and annual revenues of $514.4 billion, as reported by Fortune.

Quote analysis: You have to take risks whenever you want to do something worthwhile in life, even if the risks are small. This quote is all about taking thoses risks — and knowing that you cannot grow if you don't. .

Leadership lesson: You have to be prepared to take risks. It's not enough just to think about it — you have to act.

This post first appeared on PulseBlueprint.com.