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UK - Recession pushes finance people to the top

26 April 2011

Finance skills are increasingly key to the position of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), findings from the annual FTSE 100 CEO Tracker report published by staffing agency Robert Half reveal. 49% of serving CEOs in the current FTSE 100 Index have financial backgrounds, compared to only 31% in 2008.

Of the 10 FTSE 100 CEOs who have been appointed over the past year, seven leaders have financial backgrounds.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director for Robert Half UK, commented "as the economy continues to improve, we are seeing an increasing demand for leaders with a strong financial skill set to guide organisations through a challenging operating environment and drive competitiveness so they emerge a stronger, more capable business."

"This renewed significance in fiscal expertise reflects the increasing regulatory environment and need for accountability for the numbers behind the business."

Although diversity amongst the FTSE 100 has come a long way in recent years, the 2011 research suggests that there has not been much of an improvement when it comes to gender, nationality and age since last year.

The number of women making the top position in 2011 has remained unchanged, with four at the top for both years. However, the number of CEOs under the age of 45 has increased from 4% to 6% over the last year, indicating that a higher number of younger professionals are making their way to the top.

While the majority of CEOs are British nationals, the remaining leaders come from a wide range of countries, including the United States, Mexico, Syria, India and South Africa.

Seven of the FTSE 100 CEOs hold aristocratic titles. With a +2% increase on last year, 21% of current CEOs attended either Oxford or Cambridge, with the vast majority of the remainder holding some form of higher education qualification.

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