Heidrick & Struggles: Route to the Top: Todayʻs CEO

For many years, Heidrick & Struggles has carefully studied the paths leaders have traveled on the journey to becoming CEO. Their research:

  • Highlights trends related to functional experience, age, tenure, race or ethnicity, gender, and education
  • Looks at how journeys differ by industry, geography, and size of company
  • Observes shifts in whether companies promote from within or hire from the outside
  • And more!

One thing their Route to the Top research points to is the importance of well-rounded experience. If you are a commercial leader, a stint in finance and investor relations is helpful. If you are a finance executive, time spent with customers and managing a commercial P&L is beneficial. And experience in the functions and geographies most material to the long-term success of the business always helps, of course.

The data also reflects the world around us: longer-term trends toward greater diversity, short-term pivots in response to difficult economic environments, and more.

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