Age and Tenure in the C-Suite: Korn Ferry Institute Study Reveals Trends by Title and Industry
- CEOs are the Oldest and the Longest-Tenured -
- CMOs and CIOs are the Youngest and Shortest-Tenured -
- Overall the Average Age for a C-suite Member is 54 and the Average Tenure is 5.3 Years -
By contrast, the study found CMOs and CIOs are the youngest and shortest-tenured.
When analyzed in the aggregate, the average age for a C-suite member is 54 and the average tenure is 5.3 years. However, the numbers vary depending on title and industry.
CEO – Oldest and Longest-Tenured
The average age for a CEO across industries is 58, with the oldest average CEO age 60 in financial services and the youngest 55 in the technology sector.
In terms of tenure, the average CEO tenure is 8 years. Those in financial services have the longest tenure, 9.7 years, and those in energy have the shortest tenure, 6.1 years.
“It makes sense that for large, complex companies, the executive who
holds the highest leadership position would have more and diverse
experiences, which would translate to more years in the workforce,” said
CFO – Longest-Tenured Behind CEO
The average CFO age at 53 represents the middle of the pack for C-suite members. There isn’t much variance in the age of CFOs among industries, with an average age of 54 for financial services and life sciences, and an average age of 53 for the other industries (consumer, energy, industrials, professional services and technology).
As for tenure, behind the CEO, the CFO is the longest-tenured C-suite member at an average of 5.1 years, with the longest-tenured CFOs in the life sciences industry at an average of 6 years, and the shortest-tenured CFOs in the technology and industrial sectors at an average of 4.9 years.
“In 2016 we saw internal promotions of CFOs vs. external hires jump to
58 percent, up from just 40 percent the previous year. We’re also
finding that a contributing factor to the longer tenure of CFOs are
boards, which are taking the time to create robust succession management
processes to ensure chosen candidates are a good fit, and therefore stay
CHRO – Oldest Behind CEO
Behind the CEO, the CHRO is the oldest C-suite member at an average age of 55. Life sciences and energy tie for the oldest average CHRO at 56, and professional services has the youngest average CHRO at 54.
The average tenure for a CHRO across industries is 5.0 years. Energy has the longest-tenured CHRO average at 5.3 years and industrial has the youngest-tenured CHRO at 4.6 years.
“CHROs are in the business of relationship building, and that takes
CMO – Shortest-Tenured in C-Suite
The average CMO age is 52, with CMOs in the life sciences and professional services sectors the oldest average age at 54. The youngest average age of CMOs is 50 in the consumer sector.
The average tenure of a CMO is the lowest of all C-suite titles, at an average of 4.1 years. The longest average CMO tenure is in the financial services industry at 5.1 years, and life sciences CMOs stay on average a full two years less at only 3.1 years. The average CMO in the consumer industry stays 3.6 years.
“Today’s customer-centric CMO role is exceptionally complex and requires
the right balance of left as well as right brain skills, and very
importantly, a differentiated set of leadership competencies,” said
CIO – Youngest in C-Suite
The CIO is on average the youngest in the C-suite at age 51, with the youngest average CIO age in the consumer industry at 47, and the oldest in industrials at 54.
The average tenure for the CIO is 4.3 years, with CIOs in the consumer, energy, and professional services sectors tying for the longest-average tenure at 4.5 years. The shortest-tenured CIO is in the industrial sector at an average of 4.0 years.
“The pace of change is rapid and the breadth of increasing
responsibilities continues to reconfirm the importance of the CIO role,”
Editor’s Note: Infographic can be found here
Tracy Kurschner, 612.309.3957