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New Yorkers Really Don’t Know Their Fortune 500 CEOs

January 22, 2016, 7:50 PM UTC

Earlier this week, Edelman PR released the results of a global study that found that more than half of the world’s population is unable to name even one CEO. Researchers asked 10,000 people in 10 countries to name just one chief executive officer — and many people couldn’t do it. Edelman found that 53% of Americans don’t know much about C-suite celebrities.

We at Fortune were surprised. Not one? So, we made our way to Wall Street for a few hours on a cold January afternoon to find out for ourselves and try to prove the survey wrong. Watch the video above to see our results.

In our very unscientific polling, we stopped passersby and asked them to play a quick game of “Name That CEO.” We presented photographs of six Fortune 500 CEOs who are well known within the business community—Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA), Mary Barra of General Motors (GM) , Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo (PEP), Tim Cook of Apple (APPL), and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (FB)—and tried to see if the everyday New Yorker would know their names or the companies they run.

Of the eight people we stopped, none received a perfect score. A Wall Streeter named Ben saw a photo of Apple’s CEO and said “Steve Cook.” A retired city worker named Brian only got one correct (Zuckerberg). We also interviewed three non-Americans: one tourist from the Netherlands and another from Ecuador, and a male Millennial intern from Sweden who is in New York for six months and correctly named five out of the six (he didn’t know Jamie Dimon).


A woman who identified herself as Anna and said she works in the finance industry was able to name four out of six of our executives (“I should know this one because she’s a woman.”)

Anna said she was not surprised by Edelman’s findings. “It’s such a shame because people know the names of all of the Kardashian sisters, but they don’t seem to know CEOs, unfortunately, and they should. These are the inspirational people that we should be aspiring to be like.”

Refreshingly, most of the people Fortune interviewed could identify Warren Buffett. But the one similarity among our respondents? All of them recognized Mark Zuckerberg, or, as described by the woman from Ecuador, “the Facebook guy.”