'Peter' and 'Deborah' Are Top CEO Names

CEO and employees
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Hoping to raise a future CEO? Try naming your kid Peter or Deborah. If having a child who grows up to be an athlete is more your style, Ryan, Matt or Jessica might be the way to go.

These are the top names for CEOs and athletes, according to online professional networking site LinkedIn. Drawing from over 100 million LinkedIn profiles, the site has released the most popular names for a variety of professions. Female engineers in the United States, for example, are very likely to be named Kiran, while "Thierry" is the most prevalent name in restaurant and food services worldwide. [Read: Most Popular Baby Names in History]

Names may not be destiny, but some research suggests that what we're called can have long-lasting effects. Boys with names typically given to girls have higher rates of behavior problems in middle school, according to one study. It seems that the boys may be compensating in the face of teasing and insecurity about their names. Having a name associated with low socioeconomic status can influence how people treat you, as can the "race" of your name. In one 2003 experiment published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, resumes sent out under the more "white-sounding" names such as "Emily" and "Greg" got more 30 percent more callbacks than identical resumes sent out under names typically associated with African Americans, such as "Lakisha" and "Jamal."

Meanwhile, baby names reveal more about parents than ever before. Over the past decades, baby names have become more diverse as parents seek out "unique" monikers for their kids.

The LinkedIn analysis is limited to members of the social networking site, but it turned up some odd correlations. For one, male CEOs in the United States are unusually likely to have four-letter names, such as "Jack" or "Fred." Sales professionals in the U.S. also tend to have short names, including "Chip" and "Todd," while engineers' names are usually longer.

"Typically hypocorisms, the shorter form of a given name, are used in intimate situations as a nickname or a term of endearment," study researcher Frank Nuessel, a professor of classical and modern languages at the University of Louisville, said in a statement. "It’s possible that sales professionals in the U.S. and male CEOs around the world use these shortened versions of their name as a way to be more approachable and accessible to potential clients."

Top CEO names

Here, according to LinkedIn, are the top names for CEOs, both globally and in the U.S. [See: Top 10 Names for Other Professions]:

Top 10 Global Male CEO Names

1. Peter

2. Bob

3. Jack

4. Bruce

5. Fred

6. Bill

7. Ron

8. Christian

9. Alexander

10. Don (Maybe Don Draper of "Mad Men" had the right idea changing his name from "Dick Whitman.")

Top 10 Global Female CEO Names

1. Deborah

2. Sally

3. Debra

4. Cynthia

5. Carolyn

6. Pamela

7. Ann

8. Cheryl

9. Linda

10. Janet

While male CEOs tended toward the more casual monikers, female CEOs showed the opposite trend.

"Interestingly enough, female CEOs appear to prefer to use their full names and not nicknames, which could signify that they want to be taken more seriously and want co-workers to think of them in a more professional light," Nuessel said.

You can follow LiveScience senior writer Stephanie Pappas on Twitter @sipappas. Follow LiveScience for the latest in science news and discoveries on Twitter @livescience and on Facebook.

Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.