Home » Company History

Company History

Chief Executive magazine was founded by oil trading entrepreneur John Deuss (pronounced Doyce) in 1976 as a forum for the world’s most important and influential leaders to share their ideas and inspiration for a better world. Offices were in New York, NY.

The premier issue of the then quarterly publication (July/August/September 1977) depicted President Jimmy Carter on the cover. Subsequent issues included exclusive interviews with such dignitaries as the Shah of Iran, Francois Mitterrand (the 21st president of France), Margaret Thatcher (former UK prime minister), Rajiv Ghandi (7th prime minister of India), José Lopez Portillo (51st president of Mexico) and Anwar El Sadat (3rd president of Egypt) and former president Ronald Reagan.

The idea and inspiration for the magazine came from a speech and several meetings between John D. deButts, chairman of American Telephone & Telegraph Company (now AT&T) and John Deuss.

The magazine’s opening remarks stated:

“There is much to be done before the citizens of the world fully understand that the business of every nation is government and commerce, and that both business and government should be respected for the good that is accomplished. It is the purpose of this magazine to help make that clear.”

The fifth issue, in July 1978, was the first to show a corporate CEO—Mobil’s Rawleish Warner—on the cover rather than a political chief. It was a turning point for the magazine, which, from then onward, began including content on capitalism and business from the lens of the corporate CEO.

It was this same issue for which our current Editor in Chief J.P. Donlon joined the publication.

With this shift toward a more corporate and capitalistic focus, featured leaders included  former Commerce Secretary Malcomb Baldrige, as well as Jack Welch and Bill Gates.

Over the next several years, Chief Executive discussed matters of significance with regard to politics, heads of state, terrorism, international trade and corporate governance.

In the fall of 1985, Chief Executive published its editorial policy for the first time, as “a journal of opinion written by and for CEOs of U.S. and international business.

In 1986, Chief Executive magazine was acquired by Macfadden Holdings Inc. of New York. With the new ownership came a slightly broader direction, serving the needs of both CEOs and COOs. In this year, the publication launched the Chief Executive Roundtable, a periodic gathering of CEOs to discuss issues and share solutions to challenges facing business leaders. In addition, the first annual Chief Executive of the Year award was launched.

In 1992, Chief Executive’s circulation increased to nine times a year. In 1994, the publication and company were sold to The Chief Executive Group LLC, with Arnold B. Pollard as President and Chief Executive and William E. Mayer as Chairman. By 2000, the publication had become monthly.

In 2009, the company was purchased by Chief Executive Group, a subsidiary of Greenhaven Partners, with Wayne Cooper as President and Chairman, and Marshall Cooper as CEO.

Today, Chief Executive Group is a multi-media and event business whose purpose is to elevate the performance of chief executives. Our products and services include the flagship Chief Executive magazine, as well as online publications, research, Chief Executive Network—a CEO peer network—and several national events, such as CEO of the Year, CEO2CEO Summit and the Smart Manufacturing Summit.

Chief Executive magazine products several leading industry rankings, such as CEO of the Year, the Best & Worst States for Business, Best Companies for Leaders, Wealth Creators and the Top 100 Mid-Market Elite Businesses.

We are a company that is committed to the needs of the CEO and we continue to provide insight to help CEOs lead their businesses into the future.

  • 1977  |  Chief Executive magazine is launched by entrepreneur John Deuss. 
  • 1980  |  Chief Executive launches its first subscriber survey, soliciting feedback on presidential candidate preferences.
  • 1986  |  Chief Executive launches CEO roundtables and designates its first CEO of the Year, Roger Smith.
  • 1992  |  Chief Executive increases frequency from quarterly to nine times a year.
  • 1992-96  |  Chief Executive conducts CEO roundtables in Toronto, Mexico City, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Singapore and Brussels, bringing U.S. and non-U.S. CEOs together for discussions on global business. 
  • 1998  |  Chief Executive begins publishing its content online.
  • 2009  |  Greenhaven Partners acquires Chief Executive magazine’s assets and launches Chief Executive Group.
  • 2013  |  The Chief Executive Network peer group is introduced.
  • 2013  |  The Smart Manufacturing Summit is launched.