CEO Tracker: Who are the CEOs of the ASX 200?

Robert Half research has identified the background and experience of current ASX 200 CEOs in the Robert Half CEO Tracker. Read more here.

They’re typically male, have a background in finance, based in Sydney and have international work experience

  • 47% of ASX 200-listed CEO’s are based in Sydney, 50% have a background in finance [1] and 94% are male
  • 54% have completed a postgraduate degree
  • 59% have international work experience 
  • 61% have been in the role for five years or less

According to new research from specialised recruiter Robert Half, which has identified the background and experience of current ASX 200 CEOs in the Robert Half CEO Tracker, the profile of a CEO listed on the ASX 200 is male, based in Sydney and likely to have a postgraduate degree, a background in finance as well as international work experience. 

Background
Half (50%) of Australia’s current ASX 200 CEOs have held prior roles in finance, financial services or accounting, which illustrates a common understanding of the value that financial experience  brings to senior leadership positions. Having a background in finance enables professionals – across all seniority levels – to develop an understanding of the financial environment that in turn can provide unique business insights.

David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “It is not surprising to see that half of Australia’s ASX 200 CEOs have financial backgrounds. Companies are constantly under pressure to improve profit margins and deliver increased shareholder value. Business leaders with strong financial capabilities are highly valued as they can easily interpret the financial ramifications of business decisions, adding a practical, financial perspective to a strategic one.”

Location
The overall majority (96%) of ASX 200 companies are based in Australia, with New South Wales being the dominant business domain as almost half (47%) are based in the Sydney metro area. More than one quarter (27%) are based in the Melbourne metro area, followed by Brisbane (9%), Perth (9%) and Adelaide (3%). Only 4% of ASX 200-listed CEOs are based internationally in North America, New Zealand and the UK. 

International work experience
Being able to put management skills and business acumen into practice in a different countries helps C-suite professionals gain a broad understanding of the cultural and geographical influences that impact business operations. The current ASX 200 CEOs recognise the value of having international work experience as almost six in 10 (59%) ASX 200 CEOs have worked abroad, with 66 CEOs having worked throughout the Asia Pacific region, 59 in Europe, 54 in North America, 17 in Africa, 11 in Latin America and five in the Middle East [2]. 

David Jones added: “In today’s globalised world, obtaining experience of different working cultures is an important way for business leaders to differentiate themselves. As technology continues to develop and make it easier for more businesses to work across international boundaries, being able to demonstrate success in different countries and global assignments is a credential in business leaders that is highly sought-after.”

Gender
The research has found that the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the average ASX 200 CEO is male (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women [3].

Education
Unsurprisingly, having a tertiary education is clearly a characteristic most of the ASX 200 CEOs share. More than eight in 10 (82%) have an undergraduate degree and more than half (54%) have – in addition to an undergraduate degree – postgraduate qualifications, with little over one in five (22%) having completed an MBA. 

Tenure

Loyalty has its rewards as 62% of the current ASX 200 CEOs were promoted to the top job internally, with the average tenure length being eight years before being promoted to CEO. One-third (33%) were hired as CEO externally, and 5% of the ASX 200 listed CEOs are the original founder of the company.

The majority (61%) of CEOs have been in the role for less than five years, more than one in four (26%) have been in their position for six to 10 years and 13% for more than 11 years, with the longest tenure currently held at 44 years.

“The DNA of the modern CEO continues to evolve as businesses operate in an increasingly competitive and changing environment. Naturally, it takes a very driven individual to become CEO – of any type of company. As organisations operate in uncertain times, they need to proactively identify the right talent for the top job. With the advancement of automation, digital transformations, regulatory frameworks, and globalisation, companies need leaders who can not only meet business goals, but also successfully leverage these changes, whilst possessing a strong people focus as well as financial and business acumen in order to keep their organisation afloat and prosperous during continuously fluctuating economic conditions,” concluded David Jones. 

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[1] Finance, accounting and/or financial services. 

[2] CEOs who have worked in multiple regions have been counted several times depending on the regions they have worked in.

[3] The Robert Half CEO Tracker research was conducted prior to Deborah Thomas stepping down as CEO of Ardent Leisure – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-26/ardent-leisure-ceo-to-stand-down-deborah-thomas/8472304

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