Want to be a FTSE 100 boss? Those with tech backgrounds are increasingly eyed for the top job and now make up one in 10 CEOs

Rebecca Smith
Aiming to become the top dog? Tech nous may stand you in good stead
Aiming to become the top dog? Tech nous may stand you in good stead (Source: Getty)

Tech talent is becoming an increasing draw for FTSE 100 firms on the hunt for their next chief executive.

According to recruitment firm Robert Half, the number of top bosses with a financial background is dropping as companies focus more on tech expertise.

In the past four years, the number of FTSE 100 chief executives with a technology background has trebled; in 2014 only three bosses had a background in technology and today this has risen to 11.

Read more: FTSE 100 bosses' pay has dropped after to pressure from shareholders

While the majority of bosses still have a background in finance, it has dropped from 55 per cent last year to 43 per cent, according to Robert Half's FTSE 100 CEO tracker. That is the lowest level in three years.

There are also changes afoot in terms of age, with just eight chief executives under the age of 50 on the FTSE 100. That is a quarter down on 2010, when 33 hadn't seen in their first half-century.

The typical age of a chief executive now is 55, with an average tenure of five years and two months.

Robert Half noted the number being promoted from within has doubled within the last three years. In total, 41 per cent of FTSE 100 firms' top dogs have been promoted from within the company and 11 per cent have been at the company for their whole career.

“Strong leadership that can deliver profitability and create a sustainable advantage against competitors and new market entrants is key," said Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half UK.

As a result, all businesses are thinking carefully about who is positioned at the helm of the company and if he or she has the skills needed to navigate a complex business environment. Increasingly, CEOs who can combine current industry knowledge with the commercial acumen needed to navigate the fast pace of change is key.

Overall though, the average FTSE 100 CEO is from the UK (65 per cent), male (93 per cent) and likely to have held a senior role in the same industry (64 per cent). Just seven of the current FTSE 100 bosses are female, edging up from four in 2014.

Read more: Most chief financial officers want the corner office

How the FTSE 100 boss is changing

  • Tech backgrounds are on the up
  • Average age has risen, with the typical age of a chief exec now 55
  • Oxbridge education has fallen back; since 2010, the number of bosses with an Oxbridge education has declined from 23 per cent to 17 per cent

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