The Secret Life of a C.E.O.

 

Freakonomics Radio presents an ongoing series: “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.” You’ll hear interviews with leaders of some of the biggest companies in the world: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Mary Barra (General Motors), Richard Branson (Virgin), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Jack Welch (G.E.), Ray Dalio (Bridgewater), Carol Bartz (Yahoo!), David Rubenstein (Carlyle), John Mackey (Whole Foods), and Ellen Pao (Reddit).

Jeff Immelt Knows He Let You Down (Ep. 452)

Not so long ago, G.E. was the most valuable company in the world, a conglomerate that included everything from light bulbs and jet engines to financial services and The Apprentice. Now it’s selling off body parts to survive. What does the C.E.O. who presided over the decline have to say for himself?

Is it Too Late for General Motors to Go Electric? (Ep. 442)

G.M. produces more than 20 times as many cars as Tesla, but Tesla is worth nearly 10 times as much. Mary Barra, the C.E.O. of G.M., is trying to fix that. We speak with her about the race toward an electrified (and autonomous) future, China and Trump, and what it’s like to be the “fifth-most powerful woman in the world.”

How to Succeed by Being Authentic (Hint: Carefully) (Ep. 438)

John Mackey, the C.E.O. of Whole Foods, has learned the perils of speaking his mind. But he still says what he thinks about everything from “conscious leadership” to the behavioral roots of the obesity epidemic. He also argues for a style of capitalism and politics that at this moment seems like a fantasy. What does he know that we don’t?

What Do Nancy Pelosi, Taylor Swift, and Serena Williams Have in Common? (Ep. 385)

They — along with a great many other high-achieving women — were all once Girl Scouts. So was Sylvia Acevedo. Raised in a poor, immigrant family, she was told that “girls like her” didn’t go to college. But she did, and then became a rocket scientist and tech executive. Now she’s C.E.O. of the very organization she credits with shaping her life. Acevedo tells us how the Girl Scouts are trying to stay relevant, why they’re suing the Boy Scouts, and how they sell so many cookies.

23andMe (and You, and Everyone Else) (Ep. 378)

The revolution in home DNA testing is giving consumers important, possibly life-changing information. It’s also building a gigantic database that could lead to medical breakthroughs. But how will you deal with upsetting news? What if your privacy is compromised? And are you prepared to have your DNA monetized? We speak with Anne Wojcicki, founder and C.E.O. of 23andMe.

How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians) (Ep. 374)

Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?

Can an Industrial Giant Become a Tech Darling? (Ep. 357)

The Ford Motor Company is ditching its legacy sedans, doubling down on trucks, and trying to steer its stock price out of a long skid. But C.E.O. Jim Hackett has even bigger plans: to turn a century-old automaker into the nucleus of a “transportation operating system.” Is Hackett just whistling past the graveyard, or does he see what others can’t?

A Conversation With PepsiCo C.E.O. Indra Nooyi (Ep. 316 Update)

One of the world’s biggest and best-known companies just announced that its C.E.O. would be stepping down in the fall. We interviewed her as part of our series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.," and we thought you might like to hear that episode again, or for the first time if you missed it back then.

Extra: Ray Dalio Full Interview (Ep. 330)

Stephen Dubner's conversation with the founder and longtime C.E.O. of Bridgewater Associates, recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”

Extra: Mark Zuckerberg Full Interview (Ep. 328)

Stephen Dubner's conversation with the Facebook founder and C.E.O., recorded for the Freakonomics Radio series “The Secret Life of a C.E.O.”