NOT all chief executives take the same path to the ‘corner office’ but there are certain choices and milestones a worker can make to give themself the best chance of success.

Robert Half’s CEO Tracker research reveals the characteristics of the typical chief executive of an ASX 200-listed company.

It finds 82 per cent hold an undergraduate degree and 54 per cent hold a postgraduate degree, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration).

Half have a background in finance and 59 per cent have worked internationally – most commonly in the Asia Pacific, Europe or North America.

The research also shows most (62 per cent) chief executives have been promoted internally into the role, showing dedication to a company may pay off.

One in three chief executives are still hired externally.

On average, an internally-promoted chief executive spends eight years at the company before reaching the top job.

David Jones, of Robert Half Asia Pacific, says not all CEOs are the same. Picture: Supplied

David Jones, of Robert Half Asia Pacific, says not all CEOs are the same. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied


Robert Half Asia Pacific senior managing director David Jones says although these characteristics are typical, workers who do not tick all of the boxes are not out of the running.

“Our CEO Tracker is specific to the ASX 200 and the backgrounds for larger companies could be very different to small to mid-size companies,” he says.

“There, the CEO might be more entrepreneurial and backgrounds could be more diverse.”


Demographer Bernard Salt says workers with their eye on a “plum role” should typically spend their 20s trying new things and gaining a range of skills but then settle into an organisation in their 30s to be ready to make their move when they are about 40.

“The criticism of Gen Y is that they are flighty but maybe that is the skill set they need (in their 20s),” he says.

“There comes a point, though, where you need to stick something out for four or five or six years.”

By mid-thirties, Salt says a worker should have long-term goals in mind.

“There comes a point where you need to say ‘I’m going to work this through’,” he says.

“There are times in corporate life where you just have to wait your turn, although that’s not often what everyone wants to hear.

“A 35-year-old that has never spent more than 18 months in a job won’t ever be appointed to CEO.”

Bernard Salt says Gen Y may be on to something. Picture: Supplied

Bernard Salt says Gen Y may be on to something. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied


Professor Paul Vorbach, honorary professor at University of Technology Sydney and managing director of AcademyGlobal, presents modules in the Certified Turnaround Analyst course and says workers in their 30s should continue to expand their skills and experience.

“Ideally, secure a mentor and seek to work with a collaborative team made up of capable and interesting colleagues,” he says.

Salt recommends workers use this time in their working life to position themselves for the opportunities they will be offered between age 38 and 42.

“Top business people often are put into the CFO (chief financial officer) role between 37 and 38, then five or six years later they are positioned for CEO,” he says.

Once in the role, chief executives can then use this experience to move into other similar positions.

One in four chief executives in ASX 200-listed companies held the chief executive role elsewhere before moving into their current company.

Investment manager Miki Cvijetic is kicking career goals. Picture: Christian Gilles

Investment manager Miki Cvijetic is kicking career goals. Picture: Christian GillesSource:News Corp Australia


Miki Cvijetic, investment manager at Boab Capital Group and Helmsman Capital, aims to one day become a principal within a leading private investment firm.

He spent his 20s studying finance and accounting at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and trying a range of roles to determine the niche that suited him best.

“I worked in a stockbroking firm, a listed toll road infrastructure fund, an insolvency firm, a boutique corporate finance firm and a global investment bank,” he says.

“Since joining Helmsman, I completed the Certified Turnaround Analyst program through the Turnaround Management Association and UTS to further my knowledge of turnarounds after determining this was going to be my long-term career.”

By NO Comment January 11, 2018

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