Retirement at 65? At that age, some CEOs are just getting started. Here, five chiefs who are shouldering their executive responsibilities well into their seventies and eighties—many with solid results. The golden years were never more aptly named.
Again, this year Warren Buffet takes the cake as the oldest CEO among the heads of America’s largest corporations. (For a list of 10 companies in the Fortune 500 that are younger than Buffett, read to the end of this story.)
1. Warren Buffett—CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, 85
Over his 60-year career, Warren Buffett’s name has become practically synonymous with value investing. Buffett, the son of a stockbroker and four-term U.S. Republican Representative, got his start in investment early: at age 11, he bought three shares of Cities Service Preferred (and three for his sister). Buffett’s relationship with Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) began in the 1960s, when he started investing in what was then a New England textile conglomerate. By 1970, Buffett had become CEO and Chairman. Under Buffett’s direction, Berkshire Hathaway has grown exponentially, and regularly features among the Fortune 10. The company wholly owns GEICO, Fruit of the Loom, and Dairy Queen, and owns stakes in companies including American Express, Coca-Cola (KO), Wells Fargo (WFC), IBM (IBM), Apple (AAPL), and General Electric (GE). Berkshire Hathaway reported revenue of more than $200 billion last year.
2. Sheldon Adelson—CEO, Chairman, and Treasurer of Las Vegas Sands, 82
Adelson undertook his first business enterprise at age 12, borrowing $200 from his uncle to start a newspaper stand in Boston. Over the following decades, Adelson dabbled in the retail and tourism industries before launching the computer trade show COMDEX in 1979. After selling the show in 1995 for over $800 million, Sheldon purchased the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas—and imploded it to make way for the Venetian. The casino magnate has since built an empire that stretches beyond Vegas, launching gambling resorts in Singapore and Macau. He’s also garnered plenty of recent media attention for extending his influence to American politics, becoming one of the most influential donors in the U.S.
3. Roger Penske—CEO and Chairman of Penske Automotive Group, 79
Roger Penske has claimed 16 victories at the Indianapolis 500 as an owner, himself an avid road racer in his youth. But unlike other car owners, Penske also happens to be an auto industry megadealer, founding the Penske Automotive Group (PAG) in 1969. Headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, his automotive and commercial truck dealership operator generated $19.3 billion in revenue last year—and is enjoying its eighteenth appearance on the Fortune 500 this year. The exec’s reported mantra for business and racing? “Effort equals results.”
4. Leslie Wexner—CEO and Chairman of L Brands, 78
Les Wexner, born to immigrant parents from Russia, grew up working at the general merchandise store they operated in Columbus, Ohio. At 26, Wexner himself entered the industry with a $5,000 loan from an aunt, founding L Brands (LB), and his first store—The Limited. The retail and marketing titan now includes Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, and Henri Bendel. It recorded sales of $12.7 billion in 2015. With 2016 marking his his 53rd year as CEO of L Brands, Wexner is the longest-serving CEO on the Fortune 500 list.
5. Alan Miller—CEO and Chairman of Universal Health Services, 77
Before he was a Fortune 500 CEO, Alan Miller was the youngest vice president of Young and Rubicam, an ad agency in New York. That was before his former roommate from Wharton convinced him to enter the private healthcare industry. Although his first venture—American Medicorp—was the victim of a hostile takeover by Humana in 1978, Miller wasted no time in founding Universal Health Services (UNH) the year after. His company is today one of the largest for-profit hospital corporations in the nation.