Greater Demands Being Made on Future CEOs

October 5, 2009 – On average current CEOs are 52 years old upon appointment, have university degrees in economics, engineering or natural sciences, supplemented by an additional qualification in strategic business management and job experience abroad, according to a survey released by U.K.-based executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. The survey, conducted among the CEOs and supervisory boards of the 30 DAX companies in the first six months of 2009, also found that CEOs have a high level of customer orientation and achieved operative successes in core areas of their company. At the same time, CEOs have pronounced management skills such as employee orientation and motivation, as well as social competence and team capability. “The growing complexity of our economy and wide variety of business risks call for an ever deeper understanding of the core business – even at executive board level,” said Patrick Schild, partner at Odgers Berndtson. “The true hurdles in the future, however, will be the personal skills and characteristics of a CEO. Based on the experience from the current crisis, greater emphasis will be placed in the future on aspects such as modesty, integrity and sustainability for the appointment and monitoring of a CEO.” When the DAX was founded, nearly half of all CEOs had a law degree and 23 percent had an economics degree. This ratio has reversed over the last 20 years: in 2008, only about 19 percent of the CEOs had studied law whereas 35 percent had studied economics.

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