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Texas A&M Heads Fortune Magazine CEO List

Scot Walker '90 July 14, 2017 10:40 AM updated: July 14, 2017 10:56 AM

Darren Woods '87, CEO of Exxon Mobil
Darren Woods '87, CEO of Exxon Mobil

By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Marketing and Communications

Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs in the top 100 of Fortune 500 companies, according to a new Fortune magazine study.

With four former students serving as CEOs of some of the largest companies in the United States, Texas A&M has the most of any university in Texas and is only matched by the University of Michigan. Other schools on the Fortune list include Cornell University and Harvard University, both with three CEO graduates.

Texas A&M also is the only Texas school in the survey with a CEO on Fortune’s Top Ten list.  Darren Woods, CEO and chairman of Exxon Mobil, studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M and is a 1987 graduate. His wife, Kathryn Woods, is also a 1987 Texas A&M graduate who earned a degree in accounting.

“This proves once again that Texas A&M has an outstanding record of preparing graduates for the workplace, and that we are a university that produces leaders,” said Texas A&M President Michael K. Young.

“We have a long history of graduates leading some of the world’s most successful companies and organizations.  I have no doubt at all that we will continue to produce more outstanding business leaders in the years to come.”

Woods said his days at Texas A&M were the most formative of his life.

“To this day, I rely on the fundamentals that I learned at A&M to help me objectively evaluate complex issues and arrive at practical solutions,” Woods told The Association of Former Students for a story in the upcoming July-August issue of Texas Aggie magazine. “Most importantly, my experience at A&M encouraged me to stay true to my values, take personal risk and commit to aspirational goals.

“I am part of a family of Aggies. My sister, wife, in-laws and nephew all graduated from A&M. My youngest son is pursuing a degree from A&M. The emphasis that A&M places on values and tradition, in addition to providing a quality education, resonates with all of us.”

John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, said the Fortune listing is another in a long line of accolades for Texas A&M graduates.

“This is one of the many reasons that A&M graduates are among the most highly recruited and earn some of the highest starting salaries in the nation,” Sharp noted.

The other Aggies that are on the list are Bruce D. Broussard, CEO of Humana, Class of 1984; David M. Cordani, CEO of Cigna, Class of 1988; and Greg C. Garland, CEO of Phillips 66, Class of 1980.

This story was originally published at

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Some other key CEOs did not make the Fortune 100 list due to leadership change after the magazine deadline or because the company is outside the top 100; those include Jeff Miller (Halliburton), Gregg Sherrill (Tenneco), William Thomas (EOG Resources), and Lee Tillman (Marathon Oil). In 2016, 1,350 former students showed up in The Association of Former Students database with a job title that included "CEO." 

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