Men account for 95% of CEOs at global firms in US and Europe

Men still hold 95% of CEO positions at the largest companies in the US and Europe, according to a new report.

gender diversity senior women in leadership jobs

 

The Route to the Top 2018 report from executive search and leadership firm Heidrick & Struggles found women CEOs are still rare and represent just 4.9% of chief executives heading up the largest American and European companies.

The report also shows that more than half (67%) of current CEOs rose to the top from an internal promotion and almost half (47%) have previous experience as a member of a C-suite leadership team.

Germany, at 32%, had the largest proportion of CEOs who previously served as CFOs, and the U.S., at 47%, had the largest proportion of CEOs who previously held the COO role. Some 27% of CEOs have experience in the finance function, while 22% have general management experience.

Anne Lim O’Brien, Vice Chairman of the global CEO & Board Practice at Heidrick & Struggles, said: “It’s clear there is much work to be done on a global scale. As boards plan for succession, it will be critical for companies to focus on the development of women and diverse leaders to help them gain the experience necessary to serve at the highest levels and become CEO-ready. Our recent pledge to present clients with diverse board candidates globally, with a goal of delivering a minimum of 50% diverse candidates in total on an annual basis, will help build a strong pipeline of talent to make a difference and true progress.”

The report examines 674 current chief executives of the companies listed on the following country indexes: Denmark, OMX Copenhagen 20; Finland, OMX Helsinki 25; France, SBF 120; Germany, DAX and MDAX; Italy, FTSE MIB; Netherlands, AEX; Norway, OBX; Portugal, PSI-20; Spain, IBEX 35; Sweden, OMX Stockholm 30; Switzerland, SMI Expanded; United Kingdom, FTSE 100; United States, Fortune 100.

Additional findings from the Route to the Top 2018 report include:

  • CEOs averaged 50 years of age at the time of their appointment. CEOs in the US are the oldest with an average age of 52 at the time of appointment. Whereas the greatest percentage of CEOs under 50 years of age at the time of their appointment was found in Norway, at 64%.
  • Overall, internally appointed CEOs served an average of 14 years within a company before being appointed to the position.
  • Fewer than three in 10 CEOs hold an MBA degree.

 



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