Infographic: what it takes to be a FTSE 100 CEO

- Leadership - Apr 27, 2016

Finance experts are the most likely people to become bosses of top businesses, according to a study into the CEOs of the FTSE 100 companies.  

A financial background continues to be the most common of today’s FTSE 100 CEOs (55 percent), compared to 21 percent in retail/hospitality, 15 percent in engineering/natural resources, 15 percent in marketing and 14 percent in technology. Almost one in four (23 percent) CEOs are qualified Chartered Accountants, according to new research from recruiters Robert Half UK. 

The ninth annual Robert Half FTSE 100 CEO Tracker shows that the average tenure of Britain’s top bosses is five years and three months, with the longest tenure record currently held at more than 30 years. The majority (66 percent) of today’s CEOs move from a senior role in the same industry, showing continuing importance placed on building up a credible understanding of a single sector when aiming to move into a C-suite role. 

There were a total of 10 new entrants to the FTSE 100 in the period analysed, including Inmarsat, Worldpay, Informa and Paddy Power. Further change came in the form of nine new CEOs taking the helm of companies already in the FTSE 100, including Mike Wells, who replaced Tidjane Thiam at Prudential in June 2015 and James Edward "Jes" Staley, who replaced Antony Jenkins at Barclays in December.

READ MORE: Why London is the business capital of Europe

The number of women heading up the FTSE 100 has increased by one in the past 12 months.  There are now six female CEOs in the FTSE 100 with the appointment of Alison Brittain to Whitbread earlier in 2016, up from just four in 2011 and 2012. 

The majority (60 percent) of FTSE 100 CEOs are British citizens, yet 20 different nationalities are represented at the top of the UK’s largest companies, including leaders from South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands.

From an education point of view, a fifth (18 percent) of FTSE 100 CEOs are Oxbridge educated, down one percent from the previous year and more than a quarter (28 percent) have an MBA or PHD, down four points from last year.

Phil Sheridan, UK Managing Director at Robert Half, said:Executives within every sector are seeking ways to continue meeting their own business goals in the face of external influences including growing regulatory frameworks and geopolitical uncertainty. As the leaders of Britain’s largest and most successful businesses, the individuals heading up these organisations can collectively influence the direction, confidence and economic prosperity of the wider UK economy.

“In these increasingly complex global operating environments, leaders who are able to traverse the commercial landscape while maintaining strong fiscal responsibility are in greatest demand. This trend is supported by this year’s findings where experience within a single industry combined with a foundation in finance is what organisations seek from those taking the helm.”

See below a series of infographics summarising the research: 

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Read the May 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.

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