Monday 19 September 2016 10:02 am

Most chief financial officers want the corner office

If you're a chief executive, it may be worth looking over your shoulder – for new research has found the nation's chief financial officers have corner office aspirations.

According to findings from Robert Half, 86 per cent of finance chiefs want to be chief executive of their current organisation.

Some 44 per cent of finance bosses said their knowledge of investor stakeholder management made them the best candidates to run the company, while 40 per cent thought it was their economic and business awareness.

Read more: The anatomy of a FTSE 100 chief executive

Meanwhile, 32 per cent said it was their ability to deliver finance and data-driven business decisions, and 22 per cent said it was their fiscal management and efficiency improvement abilities. 

Their greatest threat? Marketing directors, 23 per cent of whom want to run their companies. That's followed by chief information officers, 22 per cent of whom want to be chief executive, and head of legal, at 21 per cent.

"As CEOs continue to be challenged with improving the financial position of the organisation and delivering increased shareholder value, hiring an individual with a strong financial background is often key," pointed out Phil Sheridan, senior managing director at Robert Half. 

How to become a chief executive

To be fair, though, it looks as though the finance bosses are currently winning: research last year by Robert Half found 52 per cent of FTSE 100 chief executives had a background in finance, compared with 21 per cent coming from a retail and hospitality background, and 17 per cent working in engineering and natural resources.

More research found the average FTSE 100 chief executive is 55 years old, with more than a quarter having either an MBA or a PhD.

Some 70 per cent came to their role from another organisation, and most lived in London – and curiously, it seems to help it you're called either David, Stephen, Mark or Andrew. Go figure.