working women

If You Want to be the Female CEO of a Large Company…

For the past decade, a consultancy firm Strategy& has studied both incoming and outgoing CEOs at the world’s 2,500 largest companies and published a report on patterns it noticed with respect to female CEOs.  Since 2004, they observe a positive trend of more incoming female CEOs than outgoing ones, and predict that by 2040, 30% of incoming CEO class will comprise women (extrapolating based on current trends).  Some highlights of the study:

  • Though the absolute numbers of female CEOs is small at very large companies, over the past decade there have been more incoming female CEOs than outgoing ones
  • Female CEOs are more likely to be “forced out” (as opposed to a planned succession or as a result of M&A) — whether and why this might be the case isn’t clear but you can read some opinions about that here from some female leaders
  • One reason might be that more women CEOs are “outsiders” (i.e. those who grew up outside the company) rather than “insiders” (and insider-CEOs tend to do better than outsider-CEOs, in general)
  • There are more net female CEOs at North American consumer companies than other regions and industries, but they run companies of all kinds, everywhere

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  • In terms of professional background, geography, experience and age, female CEOs tend to have otherwise very similar characteristics as their male counterparts
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