Aiming for the C-Suite? A Recent Study Shows 25% of CEOs Have a Marketing Background

Aiming for the C-Suite? A Recent Study Shows 25% of CEOs Have a Marketing Background

Recent research has shown that 25% of CEOs have a marketing background, so if you aspire to become a highly-paid CEO, then a career in marketing could just be the best route to the C-suite. And, the research also showed that average marketing CEO salaries were nearly $800,000.

At the recent AMA Winter Conference, assistant professor at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Frank Germann, presented a study showing that a quarter of CEOs in some of the top companies come from a sales or marketing background, with general business management a close second, and finance and technology a distant third.

Stanford, Notre Dame, and London Business School, jointly participated in the report which looked at 233 of the largest publicly traded firms and 506 CEOs—the resulting data suggests that marketing CEOs are quite common and that they are not losing touch, as some reports have erroneously suggested.

Further statistics from the report also showed that a third of CEOs in the largest companies came from a marketing background, whereas around a third came from sales in smaller businesses. The report further highlighted the fact that nearly half of marketing CEOs have an MBA and that 42% of B2B businesses employed a CEO with a marketing background, because of their knowledge of the customer.

Additionally, the report shows that around 20% of CEOs had their formative experience—the five years after college—spent in a sales and marketing role. And that while half of marketing CEOs were appointed from outside the company, 63.44% worked for three or more employers and 83% had worked in different geographies.

According to Professor Germann, the reason why marketers have been so successful in the C-suite, may be because they are, “more agile, more versatile, and less risk-averse.”

Indeed, Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft Foods, was in marketing before she took the top job, and Howard Schultz of Starbucks, was director of marketing before becoming CEO.

So, if you want to get a head start with your marketing career and you are aiming for the top, with access to the latest thinking, opportunities to both network and meet fellow professionals, then nothing can prepare you better than membership of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

Check out AMA's membership today to get your marketing career on track and headed for the top in your organization!

Will Trevor is NYCRAMA's VP of Social Media. He has a background in sales and marketing, where his experience spans both agency and client-side positions. Will also worked in a range of industries, from the public sector, to manufacturing and recruitment. Most recently, he has applied his practical experience to the field of education and training, where he teaches in higher education, both in the UK and the USA. Find out more about Will on LinkedIn.

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