Have You Got What It Takes to Become CEO?

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With an increasing number of employees aspiring for the position of CEO, what do executives have to do in order to be successful? In recent survey, it was reported that only 10% of the highest paid American CEO’s came from elite Ivy League universities, suggesting that with the right advice and a great strategic career plan, anyone could join this exclusive list, regardless of their educational background. If you are considering the role of CEO, read below for our top advice.

The 4 Steps to Becoming CEO:

1. Work on your financial knowledge – Over 30% of CEOs from Fortune 500 companies spent time ensuring that they have a strong understanding of finance. When looking for a new CEO, companies valued those who could comprehend the financial repercussions of their business decisions.
2. Network with executive recruiters – This has always been an important part of any executive level job search or transition. Many executive opportunities, particularly for CEO, are not publically advertised; and so by working with executive search consultants, you can maximize your available career options and widen your search.
3. Get some board experience – Whether on a small non-profit board, or a large multi-national, board experience is seen as a highly important factor when pursuing the role of CEO. A reported 45% of Fortune 500 CEOs had prior board experience before receiving their promotion. To read more of our board advice, click here.
4. Find a company that suits Your CEO aspirations – In today’s job market, more that 75% of leaders are internally promoted to their leadership positions. Many companies feel that by hiring internally they are lowering the risk and ensuring that the new CEO fully understands the company’s culture. It takes an average of 16 years to become CEO from initial employment, with the average age of appointee being 50. By using these figures, we are able to deduce that for a typical future CEO, by 32 you should ideally be already employed by the company that you would one day like to lead. And if not, it you might want to consider a career move (see point 2).
Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule. The technology sector offers the quickest career progression and so the time taken to rise to CEO would be dramatically reduced. It is also worth noting that the industrial sector offers the slowest time frame for career progression.
So, if you are considering becoming CEO and would like help to develop your strategic career plan, seek out expert advice, and identify key skills to build, look no further than our recent executive seminar, Executive Careers: Are You Ready to Become CEO? (Premium Members - login to download a recording).

This is seminar took place on Wednesday, February 26th, 2014. The podcast recording is available to BlueSteps Premium members.

Join BlueSteps today to view the full BlueSteps Podcast Archive.
About BlueSteps
BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in more than 75 countries. Be visible, and be considered for over 90,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.

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About the author

This article was written by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Manager at the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

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