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These five top CEOs only finished high school

Australia heard this month how almost half the top chief executives in the country were born overseas. But now diversity of another kind can be celebrated among the top bosses.

The Australian Top 50 CEOs report, commissioned by Apollo Communications, contains five chief executive officers that lists high school as their highest completed education level.

"This suggests that while tertiary education is important, solid work experience in itself remains a viable option to the top," stated the report.

The finding comes on top of the revelation that among those who did go to university, law and business graduates were not the dominant group among the nation's top 50 bosses.

Here are the five company heads in the top 50 that did not attend university:

Peter Harmer - IAG

The chief of one of the largest insurance companies in the country, controlling brands like NRMA Insurance and CGU, Peter Harmer has 40 years of experience in the industry.

Insurance Australia Group (IAG) chief Peter Harmer. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

He started his career as an underwriter and claims officer at New Zealand Insurance, long before he headed up digital at AIG. He was appointed chief executive in November 2016.

Although he did not attend university after high school, he later completed the Harvard Advanced Management Program.

Gregory Goodman - Goodman Group

Gregory Goodman is the son of Patrick Goodman, who was the founder of Goodman Fielder, a company that's perhaps most famous for making bread.

Gregory started his career as a residential property developer in New Zealand but moved to Australia in the 1980s to start buying industrial real estate - warehouses.

Amazon fulfillment centre in Dandenong, Victoria. (AAP Image/Revere Agency)

In the age of online shopping, warehouses have become just as hot as prime retail shopfronts. And his company Goodman Group is cashing in, with clients like Amazon and Walmart in their books.

Let's put it this way. Goodman Group is now worth $25.4 billion - more than the owner of Westfield shopping malls, Scentre, which has a market capitalisation of $21.3 billion.

Trevor Croker - Aristocrat Leisure

Trevor Croker leads the poker machine giant Aristocrat. He leads a company that has seen its share price jump from $5.70 five years ago to now $30.67.

Aristocrat chief executive Trevor Croker. (Image: Aristocrat)

Despite pokies still being big business, the growth has come from digital gaming on social media and mobile phone platforms. And this is the side of the company that Croker had some influence in before he landed in the top seat.

Stuart Irving - Computershare

If you're an Australian who has owned shares, you've likely used Computershare's registry platform sometime.

Computershare chief Stuart Irving. (Image: Computershare)

Stuart Irving joined the company's UK office in 1998 before moving around to South Africa, Canada and the United States. He became North American information officer in 2005 then chief information officer in 2008, before jumping into the chief executive role in 2014.

Bob Johnston - GPT Group

GPT chief executive Bob Johnston. (Image: GPT Group)

A retail property investment fund, GPT split off from Lendlease in 2005. Johnston spent 20 years at the former parent company before working for other property development firms before GPT appointed him as chief executive in 2015.

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