TUESDAY 15 JAN 2013 4:15 PM


CEOs have taken on increasingly public and versatile roles in recent years. Stakeholders expect not only good business practice of CEOs but also the ability to manage the company through the difficult economic environment. Perhaps for this reason, half of Britain’s CEOs come from finance, operations or marketing.

Research carried out by the Mullwood Partnership on the prominence of those with an HR background on senior management teams has found that only 5% of CEOs come from HR. While the breakdown of CEOs’ backgrounds is compelling, it also shows that many come from seemingly unusual backgrounds such as IT, the military, journalism and psychology.

The report says, “But the diversity of other functions represented in the research also suggests there’s more at issue than purely functional experience.”

Nearly half of the survey’s respondents agree that shifts in the business environment has created the most change for which CEOs to manage. There has also been an extension of the role to include a heightened external focus and adaptive leadership.

That CEOs must now manage pressures such as reputational issues, communications transparency, consistency of leadership and scrutiny from stakeholders, the report calls for a change in the CEO selection pool. The inclusion of communicators and human resource specialists will help address the changing role of corporate leaders.