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What is the best background to rise to an CEO/MD?

I assume that it is finance but would be good to understand more

Asked by Michael Jones on December 8th 2011 5:25 p.m.

3 Answers to this question...

Answered by John McDaid on January 9th 2012 4:15 p.m.
People who get to the CEO position come from a variety of backgrounds. Many argue that it's the personal characteristics and work ethic rather than any specific background which helps people rise to the level of a CEO/MD. You are right though. Most people who become CEOs have a background in finance/accounting. You need to be good with numbers to run any sort of business. I recently read this article ([]( which states that 30% of Forbes 500 CEOs have started their careers in finance roles. A further 20% spent their initial years in sales and marketing. An another interesting aspect is the percentage of MBAs amongst the Forbes 500 CEOs. This article ([]( states that 174 of the Forbes 500 CEOs have MBAs and many others among them would have done some sort of executive programs at top business schools. Based on this information, I think we can say that people with a finance background and/or an MBA are the most likely to become CEOs
Answered by Gwen Maloney on January 20th 2012 6:52 p.m.
Anyone who starts his or her own company can become a Managing Director. Within established companies the bottom line is your success breeds your success. However, there are obviously certain achievements and steps you can take to help you achieve this goal: Be highly educated – many CEO/MD are highly educated. They usually have an MA, PHD, MBA or chartered qualification behind them. Get experience – get as much business experience as you can get from a young age. During your schooling and university holidays get jobs within the industry you think you might like to work. This might be the bottom of the food chain type job or unpaid, but this real life experience will make you highly attractive to employers along with your qualifications, allowing you to get your first foot on the ladder early on to start your climb to the top. Ideally aim for blue chip companies and recognised businesses within your chosen industry. These names will vastly improve the look of your CV. Network – Making as many contacts as you can and building relationships with them is a great way to climb the ladder. The more contacts you make, the more sources of opportunity you will have. Another benefit of building relationships with your contacts is that if people know who you are and like you, they are far more likely to give you a rise/employ you even if your achievements are relatively average.
Answered by Patrick Kennedy on February 21st 2012 11:29 a.m.
A few generally accepted sterotypes. Individuals become CEOs/MDs via: - Deep industry and company expertise: Worked in a company for 40+ years and slowly worked their way up. Generally they are best positioned to lead the business as they know more than anyone else about the business - Professional services experience: An often turbo charged route to CEO/MD role is via professional services. The benefit of a professional services role, like strategy consulting, is the role typically involves addressing a major strategic issue, is high profile, and high pressure - all good ingredients needed for an effective MD - Smart / political savvy individual: Often getting to the top is a combination of smarts and the ability to navigate personalities, personal agendas and competing corporate agendas