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The average profile of a FTSE 100 chief executive officer is still a 54-year-old man with a background in finance and increasingly they have had experience in a single industry rather than multiple ones, according to new research.
The 2015 annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker shows that the average tenure of Britain’s top bosses is five years and two months, with the longest tenure record currently held at more than 32 years. The majority (71%) of today’s CEOs move from a senior role in the same industry, bringing a deep understanding of their sector to their new company. Others (18%) are serial CEOs from a variety of industry backgrounds who apply their leadership and business acumen to the role. A further category (7%) are have worked their way up the ladder from a junior role and have an in-depth knowledge of the business.
The analysis reveals there has been significant turnover amongst senior FTSE 100 executives with a fifth (21%) of CEOs appointed to their position in the last 18 months. The study highlights a trend towards the appointment of CEOs who have only ever worked within a single industry. In the last 18 months 62% of the new FTSE 100 CEOs appointed have a history of only ever working in one industry, compared to 51% in the past.
The general career backgrounds of today’s FTSE 100 CEOs remain similar to those analysed in previous years’ studies with 52% having a financial background, compared to 21% in retail/hospitality, 17% in engineering/natural resources, 14% in marketing and 11% in technology.
The report says progress for women is slow. Only five of the FTSE 100 CEOs are women, a slight improvement on the past, but “out of proportion” with the improvements being made at director and senior management level, where women now take 23.5% of FTSE 100 board members, up from 12.5% in 2011.
Of the 101 current CEOs (one of TUI Group’s co-CEOs, Peter Long, is reportedly due to step down in 2016), 61% are British born while the remainder have their origins in a range of other countries, including the USA, Chile, South Africa and Greece.
From an education point of view, a fifth (19%) of FTSE 100 CEOs are Oxbridge-educated, in line with previous years and a third (32%) have an MBA or PhD. More than one in four (27%) CEOs are qualified Chartered Accountants (ACA).
Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, said: “Finance has again proven itself to be the route to the top of Britain’s biggest businesses as the ability to provide strong financial leadership and commercial acumen continues to be a key asset of FTSE 100 CEOs. Professionals with an education or background in finance are highly sought after by organisations and demand continues to outweigh supply in today’s job market.
“The climb to the top job can take different paths, but specific industry experience has proven to be a key consideration for businesses when appointing their chief executive. Combining strong functional and technical knowledge with a deep understanding of the industry and competitive landscape is a sound strategy for motivated professionals looking to advance their careers.”