The Role of the CEO 2023 examines CEOs of public and private companies across 20 major global markets. This is the first report focusing purely on CEO’s from Altrata leveraging BoardEx, Boardroom Insiders and RelSci data. The study covers global public companies and dives deep into the public and private companies of the US and UK.
From changing market conditions to demands of sustainability, cyber security and workforce wellbeing, among others, the CEO role has come under ever-increasing pressure to adapt and respond. In addition to driving a company’s strategic direction and bringing their skills and experience to bear, a CEO’s access to influential decision-makers makes them hugely valuable to their organizations and those connected to them.
This report examines the characteristics and experience of CEOs as well as the different factors that govern their appointment to the role. It looks at their age, gender and years of professional experience. It draws out CEOs’ M&A and IPO experience across company type and size, and uncovers the most common employers and higher education institutions that produce the CEOs of large, public companies.
Far too few women are CEOs
Only around 6% of CEO positions at major listed companies in the Global 20 are currently held by women. In only six countries (Singapore, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Sweden and the UK) does the proportion of women CEOs at the corporations of the major indices across the Global 20 countries exceed 10%. At the other end of the list, Japan falls below 1%, while Italy and Switzerland have no female CEOs. However, in relation to the latter point, it is worth noting that the major indices for Italy and Switzerland comprise a relatively small number companies, at 35 and 20 respectively.
The path to becoming CEO
87% of S&P500 CEOs and 79% of FTSE 100 were appointed internally. Among major global companies, there is a clear bias towards the internal appointment of CEOs. Given the greater stakes, from a reputational and governance perspective, for large publicly held firms, internal candidates offer a proven track record and a demonstrated ability to cope with the pressures of managing a public company. As company size reduces, this bias begins to even out: 74% of CEOs at S&P SmallCap and 54% at FTSE SmallCap firms are appointed internally.
Corporate alumni rankings for today’s CEOs
Almost a fifth of the S&P 500’s CEOs have spent part of their early careers working for GE or Procter & Gamble. These are far-reaching organizations that offer a range of business experiences to young executives.
Other high-ranking entries are Citi, HP, Dow, American Express, Pfizer and Ford. The range of sectors underlines the diversity of the talent pool of CEO candidates.
This report uses data from three of Altrata’s professional intelligence brands, BoardEx, Boardroom Insiders, and RelSci. The report mainly leverages BoardEx’s unique and proprietary Global Leadership Database, covering board and non-board members, C-suite executives, senior leaders and professional advisers. The database contains more than 2 million profiles of public, private and not-for-profit organizations and the 1.6 million people who work for them.