5 Former CEOs Who Ran for President

5 Former CEOs Who Ran for President

Former Starbucks Corp (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz is considering a run for president as a "centrist independent" in 2020.

Schultz, a self-described “lifelong Democrat,” said he wants to get into politics because U.S. politicians are no longer representing the interests of American people.

"We're living at a most fragile time," he told CBS. "Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged every single day in revenge politics."

Shultz isn’t the first former CEO to contemplate running for president. Here’s a list of five other former chief executives who sought to make the transition from the corner office to the Oval Office.

Herman Cain

Cain made his mark in the fast-food industry before taking a run at becoming the U.S. president. He worked for Coca-Cola Co. (KO) and Pillsbury Company, the Minnesota-based producer of grain and other foodstuffs that was bought out by General Mills Inc. (GIS) in 2001, before successfully reviving Godfather Pizza as its CEO.

In 2000, Cain briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination and then, four years later, in 2004, failed to win any primaries in his race for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Those setbacks didn’t appear to deter him. In 2011, he returned to the political fold as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination once again.

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina was CEO of Hewlett-Packard Inc. (HPQ) before and after the tech bubble burst and is best known for merging the company with Compaq in 2001, widely considered to be one of the worst deals in tech history.

In 2008, three years after leaving HP, Fiorina became an advisor to presidential candidate John McCain. She then ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

Steve Forbes

The editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, Steve Forbes entered the presidential race in 1996 and 2000. His campaign initially centered on establishing a flat income tax.

Forbes sold some his company shares to help finance his run. He won the Arizona and Delaware primaries in 1996, but failed to secure the Republican nomination Critics said his awkward campaigning style was to blame for his presidential ambitions coming up short.

Ross Perot

Perot, founder of Electronic Data Systems and information technology services provider Perot Systems, also made several attempts to become the U.S. president. In 1992, he was considered a front-runner for the job, until his refusal to listen to his campaign advisers led his popularity to dwindle fast.

Perot had another go in 1996, but lost out to Bill Clinton.

Mitt Romney

Romney initially made his mark as the CEO of Bain & Company. He was credited for helping to save the Boston-based management consulting firm from financial crisis, before embarking on a new venture in 1984 when he co-founded and lead the spin-off of private equity investment firm, Bain Capital.

Later, Romney used the fortune he amassed during his business career to finance his political aspirations. He put his name in the hat to become U.S. president in 2008 and 2012.

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