10 military veterans who became Fortune 500 CEOs

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In 1980, 59% of CEOs in U.S. public corporations had some form of military background, according to Vista College. In 2009, that percentage had fallen to 8%.

Despite the dramatic drop over the last 40 years, there are still a number of CEOs who have taken the leadership lessons they learned in the military into Fortune 500 boardrooms.

"10 current and former CEOs who have served in the U.S. military"

Here are 10 current and former CEOs who have served in the U.S. military.

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Alex Gorsky

Alex Gorsky, the Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson speaks in 2015. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Johnson & Johnson)

Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson, served in the U.S. Army for six years. Before his service, Gorsky attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, according to his Johnson & Johnson bio. Gorsky is set to step down in January of 2022. 

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JNJJOHNSON & JOHNSON162.75-1.52-0.93%

Frederick W. Smith

FedEx Corporation Chairman, President and CEO Frederick Smith is pictured in 2017. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

According to his corporate bio page, FedEx Chairman and CEO Frederick W. Smith was an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, from 1966 to 1970.

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FDXFEDEX CORP.251.61+2.97+1.19%

Ken Hicks

Ken Hicks is the CEO of Academy Sports. (Ken Hicks Official)

Ken Hicks is the chairman, president, and CEO of sporting goods and apparel company Academy Sports. He previously served as the CEO of Foot Locker from 2009 to 2014. 

Hicks attended West Point for his undergraduate degree and served in the U.S. Army, according to Veterans Advantage.

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Scott Wine

Scott Wine, Chairman and CEO of Polaris Industries Inc., speaks in 2015. (Photographer: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Scott Wine, CEO of CNH Industrial, a global capital goods company. Wine is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the University of Maryland. He serves on the Boards of US Bancorp and the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation.

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CNHICNH INDUSTRIAL NV18.25+0.74+4.25%

Prior to joining CNH in January of 2021 he was CEO at Polaris Industries Inc., and he held roles at defense companies including United Technologies Corporation, Danaher Corp. and Allied Signal Corp., which became Honeywell International, Inc. 

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PIIPOLARIS INC.120.12+0.35+0.29%

Alan B. Miller

Alan B. Miller is the founder and CEO of Universal Health Services. (Universal Health Services)

Universal Health Services was founded in 1979 by Alan B. Miller, who is still the chairman and CEO of the hospital management company. Miller also served in the U.S. Army in the 77th Infantry Division, according to his UHS bio page.

Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone, the former CEO of Viacom, is pictured in 2012. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Billionaire Sumner Redstone, who passed away in 2020 at the age of 97, was the former chairman and CEO of National Amusements which eventually took control of  Viacom in1996, and CBS in 2000. The companies now operate as VicaomCBS. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, cracking Japanese military codes, according to reports. 

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VIACVIACOMCBS, INC.35.69+0.30+0.85%

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Lowell C. McAdam

Lowell McAdam, the former CEO of Verizon Communications Inc., speaks in 2018. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Verizon's former CEO Lowell C. McAdam served in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineering Corps for six years, according to his bio page. 

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VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS, INC.52.46-0.15-0.29%

Robert A. McDonald

Robert A. McDonald, who served as the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Obama and previously served as the Chairman, President and CEO of Procter & Gamble, is pictured in 2016. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

After he served as the chairman, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, Robert A. McDonald became the secretary of Veterans Affairs under President Obama in 2014.

McDonald graduated from West Point and served in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Division, according to his website.

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PGPROCTER & GAMBLE CO.146.60-0.24-0.16%

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James A. Skinner

James A. Skinner, the former vice chairman and CEO of McDonald’s Corp., is pictured in 2009. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

James A. Skinner, executive chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and former CEO of McDonald's Corporation, served in the U.S. Navy for almost 10 years, including during the Vietnam War, according to Veterans Advantage.

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WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.49.73+0.76+1.55%
MCDMCDONALD’S CORP.251.23-1.90-0.75%

Robert J. Stevens

Now-retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation Robert J. Stevens speaks in 2012. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Retired Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Robert J. Stevens served in the U.S. Marine Corps for six years, according to his Lockheed Martin bio.

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LMTLOCKHEED MARTIN CORP.335.56-1.90-0.56%

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