How Well Do You Know Your CEO?

Jennifer Leigh Parker|Writer,

American CEOs have a lot on their shoulders. Their business acumen—or ineptitude—can influence markets and make or break a brand overnight.

Despite their outsized power, many corporate leaders are little-known by their underlings.

Forty percent of American workers say they have not met their CEO, according to a new nationwide survey from CareerBuilder.

And even if they do meet, it is often a fleeting moment:  brushing elbows in the elevator or an ambiguous nod at a town hall meeting.

"Employees realize their top leaders can't know everyone on a first name basis, but they do expect their leaders to be a public symbol that embodies the organization's values," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder in a statement.

Responses from 7,000 full-time workers shows that while most workers have met their CEO, 21 percent don't even know what he or she looks like.

"I'm not sure if he [CEO Mohamed El-Erian] knows my name, but I've met him a bunch of times," says Ken Nguyen, is an administrative assistant for Pimco, the largest bond fund manager in the world. 

The blank-face syndrome is not exclusive to CEOs. Workers are also pretty clueless when it comes to organizational chart knowledge. According to the survey, only 35 percent of workers can name all of the C-level officers at their organization, while an additional 21 percent can only name some C-level officers.

Most workers also don't know much about the company's bottom line. Whether they schmooze with the CEO or not, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said they don't know how much their company generates in revenue each year.