Businesses need a vision and leadership to succeed. Simply put, they need a CEO who can plan, execute, and manage resources, and lead the company to new heights. While it takes years to climb the corporate ladder and get to the coveted position, some exceptional business leaders achieve this status at a relatively young age. Let’s celebrate the youngest CEOs in the world who are making it happen for themselves and their organizations. But before that let’s understand what is a CEO.
What is a CEO?
CEO is a coveted aspiration. Its lure holds firm across the globe, especially among youngsters. They grow up with the dream of being the youngest CEO in the world and changing the world for good. Influence, social standing, money, and fame will default to the world’s youngest entrepreneur.
An abbreviation for Chief Executive Officer, CEO is at the top of the hierarchy in a given corporation. He/she is responsible for virtually everything in an organization, from planning to execution and management. Being the decision-maker, he/she drives an organization’s vision and destiny.
Top Youngest CEO in the World
CEOs have some common traits, regardless of age, gender, or the corporation they lead. Think leadership skills, the ability to see beyond the obvious, think out of the box, and communicate clearly and effectively, along with curiosity, confidence, team spirit, vision, passion, and whatnot.
Often, these traits come with age, right? Wrong! Professionals barely in their 20s successfully leading their respective organizations are commonplace. These are gifted individuals who have what it takes to be in the position where they are. Day in and day out, they lead from the front and steer their respective organizations forward in an intensely competitive scenario.
So, let’s get some inspiration from the top 10 youngest CEOs in the world.
1. Youngest CEO in the World: Parag Agrawal
- Ex-CEO: Twitter (https://about.twitter.com/en)
With an annual compensation of over $1 million-plus perks and a celebrity status at just 37, Parag is the youngest CEO to spearhead a Fortune 500 company. Previously, he served as Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Twitter. Before his stint with the social media giant, he briefly worked as an intern researcher with Microsoft Research, Yahoo! Research, and AT&T Labs. Here, he made sense of large-scale data management.
A Computer Science Engineering alumnus of IIT Bombay, Parag was a topper in his batch and a silver medallist. Upon completing his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, there was no looking back for Parag.
Journey to the top
Parag’s rise to the top came after Jack Dorsey stepped down from the CEO position. His association with Twitter dates back to 2011 as a software engineer. His notable contributions include making Twitter Ads systems scalable to future growth, boosting home timeline relevance to drive user engagement and more. Come 2017; he rose to the rank of CTO, where he spearheaded the company’s forays into decentralized technologies, notably Blockchain, Machine Learning (ML), and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Vision for Twitter
As CEO of Twitter, Parag has his share of challenges to deal with.
- Launched new monetizable products, which Twitter has failed to do in recent years.
- Power Twitter to grow in countries where growth has been challenging.
- Stay on top of emerging technologies and incorporate the relevant ones.
- Make further inroads into the Blockchain, ML, and AI technologies
- Double the revenue by 2023, which was $3.7 billion in 2020.
- DOB: 21 May 1984
- Birthplace: Ajmer, India
- Education Qualification: MS Ph.D. – Stanford University, B.tech- IIT Bombay
- Current Profile: CEO of Twitter
- Yearly income: $1 million-plus perks
- Spouse: Vineeta Agrawal
2. Youngest CEO in the World: Mark Zuckerberg
- CEO: Meta (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Facebook)
We are all familiar with this name. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is the CEO and co-founder of Facebook. He was born in May 1984, and his passion for programming was evident early on. Later in his college days at Harvard University, Zuckerberg was called a programming prodigy. Here, he developed a Course Match program for the scholars to help them choose their courses wisely, suiting their interests and aspirations.
Later, Mark got inspiration from a book named Facebook, where he built a website for fun and named it Facemash. The website initially succeeded in attracting visitors but failed to sustain viewers’ interest for some reason. In 2004, he started working with four friends on a replacement website called TheFacebook. Later, TheFacebook became Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, and his associates, the co-founders of Facebook. Mark became the youngest CEO in the World.
After numerous ups and downs, finally, all the efforts became fruitful. His net worth is 12,270 crores USD. He’s also the CEO of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Can we imagine our lives without these apps? Well, we got the answer on 4th October 2021, when all these apps were temporarily disrupted.
3. Youngest CEO in the World: Ritesh Agarwal
CEO: OYO Rooms (https://www.oyorooms.com/)
OYO hotels have expanded globally. The credit goes to the CEO and founder, Ritesh Agarwal, who has made renting affordable hotel accommodations easier worldwide. This 25-year-old billionaire and one of the youngest CEOs in the world loves traveling, and the idea of the company struck during one of his travels.
- Suggested Reading: 50 Top Entrepreneurs of India
Ritesh realized that budget-friendly hotels do not provide amenities like AC, complimentary breakfast, and more. He decided to change that for good, so OYO was born. His phenomenal rise shows that innovation and the ability to change can lead to success.
4. Youngest CEO in the World: Marissa Mayer
- Ex-CEO: Yahoo! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahoo!)
In 2010, Yahoo! was among the foremost email service providers. Yes, I suppose everyone first had a Yahoo! account only. When Yahoo! was at its peak, its CEO and President was Marissa Ann Mayer. Also, she was among the 50 most influential businesswomen from 2008 to 2014, ranking 498 out of the top 500 Fortune CEOs.
In 2008, she was said to be the youngest woman ever listed at age 33. Since childhood, she has been as brilliant in academics as in extracurricular activities. And that’s why she took tough decisions for the company and built a vibrant work culture.
Before she joined Yahoo!, employees showed up at 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. and left by 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. Within a week of Mayer’s joining, their work hours expanded from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also, she brought free food for everyone, including herself. She always believed the environment plays a crucial role in an individual’s or her company’s success! Indeed she is an inspiration to us.
5. Youngest CEO in the World: Advait Thakur
One only needs an excellent idea to succeed, and Advait Thakur is a true example. Born in 2003, he was keen on learning and did great in academics. Advait went on to be the youngest CEO in the world, aged 15 when he founded Apex Infosys India. The company has been delivering top-notch web development solutions in India and beyond since its inception in February 2017.
It would not be wrong to call him a kid entrepreneur, as he launched his first website at 9. His first client was a finance company for whom he built a web portal and provided services like SEO and SMO. His first earning was just $400. Being one of the youngest business owners in the world, Advait Thakur is presently delivering his services to Google’s Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing APIs. His other high-profile client is IBM.
6. Jared Hecht
- CEO: Fundera (https://www.fundera.com/)
Hecht is a young entrepreneur from America and co-founder and CEO of Fundera, an Internet marketplace helping small businesses acquire finance. During an interview, Hecht said, “I wanted to be the next Bill Graham”. He was passionate about music. So, Hecht started his music marketing and production company with two friends. Later, he co-founded GroupMe, a messaging app that helps connect people, allowing them to create groups, and make conference calls and text messages.
7. Sean Kelly
- CEO: Fortitude Advisors (https://www.fortitudeadvisors.com/)
Sean Kelly is the king of mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt financing, and strategic advisory. He is the CEO and founder of Fortitude Advisors, an investment banking company that deals with mergers and acquisitions and equity and debt finance services. This financial advisory company was founded in 1997, but before that, Kelly started his career as an Investment Banker in M&A at Alex. Later, he served as the President of Cappello, a leading middle-market investment company.
8. Evan Spiegel
- CEO: Snapchat (https://www.snapchat.com/)
Snapchat is among the leading instant messaging applications. Evan Spiegel is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Snap Inc. He became a popular figure and a billionaire at an early age. The story of this mega-successful entrepreneur started in 2011 when he offered his idea for his ultimate project, a mobile application that would allow people to share messages within a second.
At that time, his schoolmates laughed at him and called it a lame joke. But now they know that lame joke is the most famous social media application, Snapchat! He studied at Stanford University and later met his future co-founders of the Snapchat Empire, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown, at a party. At just 26 of age, he achieved a net worth of $2.1 billion.
9. Ben Kaufman
- CEO: CAMP (https://camp.com/)
Ben Kaufman is the CEO and the founder of CAMP, a national chain of family stores founded in 2018. At 18, he started his first company Mophie, but quickly realized how hard it is to launch a product and keep it afloat. He is also known as the breaker, maker, founder, and CEO of Quirky in 2009! Within the first few years, 28-year-old Ben raised $185 million and grew his startup to 300 employees.
10. Suhas Gopinath
- CEO: Global Inc. (https://www.globalsinc.com/)
Suhas is the founder, CEO, and Chairman of an IT MNC, Global Inc. He achieved it all before turning 18, making him the world’s youngest CEO. As a child prodigy, he made his first website with the help of books and self-learning, www.coolhindustan.com, at age 14. And what were most of us doing at 14? Perhaps, watching cartoons, playing e-games, or making excuses to skip studying.
He is a proud recipient of Karnataka’s Rajyotsava Award, Young Achiever Award, and other prestigious awards and recognitions. Suhas is a young and talented guy who also holds a diploma from the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University.
The CEO is the top boss in a company. And, to be one, age doesn’t matter. Our list of the youngest CEOs in the world makes it clear. So, if you are talented, go with the flow and fine-tune your skills. All the CEOs on this list followed their inner desire to stand out as a hero. So, don’t be afraid to start now. It is better to be late than never. Who knows that one day you can be the world’s youngest CEO.
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