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UK chief financial officers covet CEO hot seat

Posted on from Changeboard

CFOs feel they are well positioned to take the company hot seat. But what makes a good CEO, and who do they see as their main competitors?

The majority of chief financial officers (CFOs) in the UK have aspirations to become CEOs in their current organisation.

A survey of 200 senior financial executives by recruitment agency Robert Half UK revealed that 86% of CFOs are driven to take the hot seat.

CFOs believe that their knowledge of investor stakeholder management and economic awareness set them apart from applicants in other positions within their company. But what does it take to be a great CEO?

Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK, UAE and South America said: “The ‘perfect’ CEO will combine strong functional and technical knowledge to drive the business objectives with an understanding of the industry and competitive language.

“As CEOs continue to be challenged with improving the financial position of the organisation and delivering increased shareholder value, hiring an individual with a strong financial background is often key.”

Financial know-how does seem to be an indication of succession, as 55% of current FTSE 100 CEOs have a background in finance. 

CFOs see their main competitors as marketing directors, with 23% of respondents viewing them as the greatest threat to the top positions. However, the importance of technology in the growth of business means 22% of respondents see chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) as their closest rivals.

No matter the position of the prospective chief executive, businesses must ensure they put their senior people in position to rise through the ranks.

Sheridan added: “As new challenges can impact the wider business, companies should regularly review their succession planning strategies, to ensure they can fully utilise the range of talent available and develop potential leaders as early as possible.”


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