15 CEOs Who Started on the Ground Floor

Tales of climbing the ladder from clerk to CEO aren't reserved for the plots of Hollywood movies such as 9 to 5, Jerry Maguire or How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

A business executive looks out of his office windows at the city below
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tales of climbing the ladder from clerk to CEO aren't reserved for the plots of Hollywood movies such as 9 to 5, Jerry Maguire or How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The real world is filled with leaders who worked their way up from obscurity to earn millions running huge corporations.

How did they do it? Their stories, inspiring and instructive, reveal a drive to succeed, a willingness to buck convention and, of course, an unshakable work ethic.

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Morey Stettner
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com
Morey Stettner is a writer and communication coach in Portsmouth, NH. The author of five business books including SKILLS FOR NEW MANAGERS (McGraw-Hill) and THE MANAGER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE (McGraw-Hill), he writes on leadership, personal finance and retirement for MarketWatch and Investor's Business Daily. He has led webinars for Kiplinger on leadership, managing and motivating employees and customer service. A popular speaker, trainer and executive coach, he helps people sharpen their persuasive communication skills.