31 May 2016 11:32am

Financial background is key to path to CEO

More than half of FTSE 100 CEOs have a background in finance & accounting or financial services, while almost one in four are qualified chartered accountants, new research from recruiter Robert Half reveals

According to the recruiter, a financial background is one of its “factors for success” for those that want to reach the top in Britain’s biggest companies. A total of 55% of FTSE 100 CEOs have a background in finance and accounting, while 23% are chartered accountants - compared to 21% in retail/hospitality, 15% in engineering/natural resources, 15% in marketing and 14% in technology.

The annual FTSE 100 CEO tracker also shows that the average FTSE 100 CEO is around 55 years old. The number of women has increased by one in the past year – Alison Brittain was appointed to CEO of Whitbread earlier this year - and two in the past four years.

The majority have at least one degree, while more than a quarter have an MBA or a PHD. The number with an Oxbridge education has fallen slightly, from 21% in 2012 to 18% in 2016.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director at Robert Half said, “While there isn’t a single template for a FTSE 100 CEO, it’s clear that anyone planning their route to the top should consider their choices along the way.

“All in all a university degree and a financial background are also required, together with a range of management experience gathered in different roles and business sectors.”

Ellie Clayton


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