The 94-year-old CEO

He's Walter Zable, a former player for the New York Giants, and you can see him way out on the right tail of this gorgeous normal distribution created with Google Charts.  Along the horizontal axis are the ages of all of the Russell 3,000 CEOs - youngest is 31, oldest 94 - and the vertical axis shows how many CEOs there are for each age. Walter's an anomaly in ways other than his age. As you might guess, he started the company that he runs (Cubic Corp), still owns a big piece of it, and won't let go until the keys to the executive washroom are pried from his cold dead hands.


Meanwhile, the youngest CEO, 31-year-old Iranian-born Sardar Biglari, is a turnaround investor who started his first company at 14 for $15,000 and sold it at 22 for over $1m. Biglari looks for strong brands that have lost their way (indolent boards, inefficient operations and a general lack of direction).  His first project was Friendly's Ice Cream, which worked out well; now he's running Steak n' Shake, a magnet for the folks you see on the "People of Wal-Mart" site.

It's hard not to like a CEO who, a la Warren Buffet, quotes from John Maynard Keynes, Isaiah Berlin and Charles Darwin in his most recent letter to shareholders. And Sadar is like Warren in another way: He has used the cashflow from Steak 'n Shake to buy a 10% stake in a much larger firm, Fremont Michigain Insurance.

The median age of CEOs is 59. Thank goodness I still have a few years left to climb through the last 10 layers of management.