Over half of FTSE 100 CEOs are accountants

By: James Allen, www.accountancylive.com

The typical FTSE 100 CEO is a 53 year old, male accountant, according to analysis of the UK’s largest publicly listed companies by finance recruiters Robert Half.

The research found that over half (52%) of the countries top companies are headed by individuals with an accountancy or financial management history, which, remains unchanged from 2012 results, as 10 CEOs with an accounting background, that either stepped down or were in companies that dropped out the top 100, were replaced by 10 new accountants.

More than double the number of accountants hold the CEO role than those in engineering (21%) - the next most common background.

Phil Sheridan, UK managing director of Robert Half said: ‘The risk and regulation agenda is driving demand for those with finance skills who can oversee all operational reporting groups within a business. We anticipate that this demand will carry on for the foreseeable future, which means that finance continues to be a great career path for those looking to climb to the very top of the career ladder.’

While there were 6% fewer Oxbridge graduates (15) than 12 months ago, the gender imbalance has got worse with a 0.1% fall in female FTSE 100 board directors.

There were also five fewer CEOs, on 2012 figures, who were aged under 50, leaving a clear majority of 81% being 50 or older.

Both the youngest and oldest CEOs; Vitaly Nesis (37) at Polymetal International and Sir Martin Sorrell (69) at WPP, had a finance background.