ASX 200 CEO turnover hits 20% YoY: Robert Half CEO Tracker

New research reveals the background of current ASX 200 CEOs and highlights the level of executive movement. Read more here.

  • There are 17 new companies and 40 new CEOs listed on the ASX 200 compared to 2017[1]
  • 47% of ASX 200-listed CEOs are based in Sydney and 47% of the 200 have a background in finance[2] 
  • 59% have international work experience and 56% have completed a postgraduate degree
  • 63% have been in the role for five years or less

New research published by specialised recruiter Robert Half reveals the background and experience of current ASX 200 CEOs in the annual Robert Half CEO Tracker, and highlights the combined level of executive movement and changes to the list of organisations that make the ASX 200 from year to year. While the profile of a CEO has not changed significantly over the past 12 months, there are 17 new companies listed on the ASX 200 and 23 CEO changes from the previous year.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “While economic uncertainty and the need to deliver tangible results for customers and shareholders are causing some companies to make leadership changes, the level of turnover and organisational movement present within Australia’s business landscape is not uncommon given the fast-paced nature of the ASX 200 companies and the CEO role itself.”

Who are the CEOs of the ASX 200? 
The profile and background of the ASX 200-listed CEOs have not changed dramatically in the past 12 months, with the typical CEO still mostly male (93% are men and 13 are women, up from 12 last year), based in Sydney and likely to have a postgraduate degree, a background in finance as well as international work experience.

The majority (63%) of CEOs on the ASX 200 have been in their role for less than five years. One in four (25%) have been in their position for six to 10 years and 12% for more than 11 years.

There has been a slight decrease in the number of ASX 200 CEOs who were promoted internally, with 60% promoted to the top job from within the organisation in 2018 compared to 62% in 2017. The percentage of CEOs who came from other organisations grew from 35% this year compared to 33% in 2017. Fewer than one in 10 (5%) of the ASX 200-listed CEOs are the original founder of the company. 

Finance is still the dominant background of the current ASX 200 leadership, with only a slightly lower number (47%) of CEOs coming from a financial background in comparison to 2017 (50%). This suggests providing unique business insights from a financially strategic viewpoint continues to be a top priority for the ASX 200 companies. 

Despite the growing influence of technology in today’s business landscape, only 8% of ASX 200 CEOs have a background in technology. 

“Having a background in finance is crucial for leaders to navigate complex economic conditions, while still endeavouring to increase profit margins, shareholder value and cost efficiencies. However, in order to navigate the business and workplace landscape of the future, leaders today need technology-based skills that are on par with their financial acumen. We can only anticipate these skillsets amongst Australia’s top leaders will become more prominent as Australian companies continue to innovate.”

Tertiary education is a common feature as more than eight in 10 (82%) ASX 200-listed CEOs still possess an undergraduate degree, and more than half (56%) with postgraduate qualifications – a slight increase from 54% in 2017. Almost one quarter (23%) have completed an MBA – a slight increase from 22% in 2017.

NSW continues to be the dominant business domain with nearly half (47%) of ASX 200 companies based in the Sydney metro area – no change from 2017.

International work experience
Having a broad understanding of the cultural and geographical influences that underpin business operations continues to define the majority of the ASX 200 CEOs, as almost six in 10  (59%) have worked internationally   – no change from 2017. 

David Jones added: “As business landscapes around the world continue to be defined by their global perspective, leaders who have experience operating in different countries, cultures and organisational environments are likely to have more success working across international boundaries. Demonstrating success in global assignments is another key way business leaders can differentiate themselves.”

“Overall, the typical profile of an Australian CEO has not changed dramatically over the past 12 months. CEOs still need to be resilient, innovative and forward-thinking, with education and experience being key factors that make successful leaders. And while many companies have taken the initiative to put gender diversity forward as a necessity for recruitment, more work can be done at the top echelons of Australian companies, not just for the sake of balance, but for the benefits that female leadership can bring,” concluded David Jones. 


About the research
Robert Half has conducted research on CEOs of the ASX 200 by analysing publicly-available sources of information about ASX 200 CEOs to track trends including their professional and educational background, gender, and length of tenure. The research was analysed from the period 31st May 2018 – 20th July 2018, and all results are correct to the best of our knowledge.

The information within the ASX 200 CEO Tracker is based on publicly available information. Where possible, the information has been checked and verified by the offices of the CEOs.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]