The 5 most connected executives in Corporate America

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer
Ursula Burns, Chairman of the Supervisory Boar of VEON, gestures during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Equilar, a corporate governance solutions company, combed through the professional histories of myriad executives in corporate America to answer the question: Who has the most valuable professional network?

Evaluating the actual qualitative net worth of the execs’ professional networks isn’t easy, but looking at quantitative data like the market capitalization of each company each executive has a concrete (advisor, board, executive) connection with is doable.

All in all, five executives have direct connections and relationships to more than $5 trillion in market cap.


With 76 current company connections, former CEO of Xerox Ursula Burns topped the list with connections to companies worth $5.6 trillion in market capitalization. Burns is currently on the board at American Express, Exxon, MAYO Clinic, Uber, Nestle, and is a senior advisor at Teneo Holdings.

Behind Burns on the list: former CEO of American Express Kenneth Chenault, former Aetna chair Ron Williams, former CEO of UPS Michael Eskew, and former Ogilvy & Mather chair Rochelle Lazarus.

In addition to the list of current connections, Equilar tallied the non-current connections as well, all the former roles and positions people played.

In that calculation, the top five most-connected executives has former Bank of America CFO Chuck Noski leading the way, with connections to businesses worth $10.3 trillion. Williams and Burns, from the first list, are close behind, and are joined by Maggie Wilderotter, the former CEO Frontier Communications, and Aylwin Lewis, who is currently CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works.


See the whole entire list at Equilar’s website.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann. Confidential tip line: FinanceTips[at]oath[.com].