More than half of FTSE 100 CEOS have a background in finance

Over a quarter of FTSE 100 business chiefs are qualified chartered accountants

A background in finance is one of the main determining factors in reaching chief executive level, according to a new study.

Research conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half UK reveals that more than half of FTSE 100 CEOs have previously worked in a financial role or studied finance.

This was the most common path for a CEO, according to the annual study, with 52% having finance experience, while 21% of FTSE 100 chief executives have a background in retail and hospitality, 17% in engineering and natural resources, 14% in marketing and 11% in technology.

Robert Half also found that 27% of CEOs are qualified chartered accountants, further underlining the importance of a finance background in providing strong fiscal responsibility in the leadership of Britain’s largest companies.

Phil Sheridan, UK MD 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 study also revealed that 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.

Sheridan continued: “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.”

Since 2007, Robert Half has conducted annual research on CEOs of the FTSE 100. Robert Half analyses publicly available sources of information about FTSE 100 CEOs to track trends, including their professional career backgrounds, age and length of tenure.

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