Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Foreign-Born CEOs

Russian immigrant Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google:
From a recent Forbes article:

According to the National Venture Capital Association, immigrants make up only 11.7% of the U.S. population, but have started one in four of all U.S. public companies that have been venture-backed over the past 15 years, including Intel, Google, Yahoo!, Sun and eBay.

A similar study from Duke University showed immigrants were responsible for starting 25.3% of all new, high-technology businesses in the U.S. during the past 10 years. The greatest percentage of these entrepreneurs hailed from India (26%), followed by immigrants from the U.K., China and Taiwan.

Watch a slide show of Famous Immigrant Entrepreneurs from Forbes.

Daniel Gross at has two recent columns on immigrant CEOs of U.S. companies, like Alcoa, Pepsi, Coke, Dow Chemical, Intel, McDonald's, Kellog, Eli Lily, and AIG.

From "Send Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Business Executives: Why are big American companies hiring foreign-born CEOs?":

In many ways, this trend makes complete sense. Big American businesses—like Alcoa, Pepsi, Coke, and AIG—are already global businesses. Based on data from 238 members of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, S&P analyst Howard Silverblatt found that the typical member of the index generated 44.2% of its sales outside the United States in 2006. And the bigger the company—and the more it has saturated the U.S. market—the more important it is to have a CEO who is comfortable operating around the world.

From Senor CEO:

The trend also shows that the benefits of immigration to the U.S. economy derive not just from the way newcomers flood the low end of the workforce, but also from the way newcomers transition easily into, or work their way up to, the high end. American corporations—like American society at large—have demonstrated a far greater ability to assimilate newcomers than many other developed economies. (It would be difficult to find many non-native CEOs at blue-chip companies in France, Germany, or Japan.)


At 8/23/2007 12:09 PM, Blogger Dennis Mangan said...

That Forbes article is disingenuous - it doesn't mention that immigrants had to be only one of the officers of a company for it to be counted as "immigrant-started". So if the CEO, CFO, and chairman were all native-born, but the chief technology officer was an immigrant, they counted the business as started by an immigrant. Furthermore, the vast majority of immigrants to this country are Mexican; how many startups have they founded? Zero?


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