Infographic: The 2013 Chief Executive Study: Women CEOs of the last 10 years

This infographic draws on Strategy&’s unique database about outgoing and incoming CEOs. We highlight two key differences in the career tracks of women and men CEOs at the world’s largest public companies between 2004 and 2013. The graphic also shows where women CEOs have been most and least prevalent in terms of geography and industry — and predicts how the share of women CEOs will grow.

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The 2013 Chief Executive Study: Women CEOs of the last 10 years
As much as one third of the incoming class of CEOs will be women by 2040, based on a 10-year trend in our data, ever-higher education of women, continuing entry of women into the business workforce, and changing social norms of corporate leadership around the world. Ken Favaro, Senior Partner


For 14 years


Strategy& has examined CEO turnover and the incoming class of CEOs at the world’s largest public companies

We focus on incoming and outgoing CEOs rather than all CEOs.
These critical decision points can help us understand what companies are looking for in their CEOs and how the role is changing.

This year, in addition to undertaking our usual analyses, we looked at our past 10 years of data on

Women CEOs

118 women
have entered or left office at these companies since 2004.

A total of

More women CEOs, slowly but surely

the last 10

8 Years out of

the proportion of women in the incoming class of CEOs has been larger than in the outgoing class, indicating women CEOs are becoming more prevalent at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.

Difference between the shares of incoming and outgoing women CEOs



0.0% 2004











Percentage of women CEOs in incoming and outgoing classes
2.8% +75% 1.6%

More women CEOs in the incoming than outgoing classes in the past decade

In 2012: 4.3% In 2013: 3.0% A 1.3 percentage point drop in the incoming class of 2013, despite the overall rise.

Outgoing CEOs

Incoming CEOs

Where women lead
Women lead companies in every region and industry. We studied the percentage of women CEOs over a decade, and these are our results:

Percentage of incoming and outgoing CEOs Company headquarters region








US and Canada
Other mature China Brazil, Russia, India Other emerging Western Europe



Information technology
Consumer staples Consumer discretionary Utilities Energy Financials Telecommunications services Industrials





Hiring women CEOs
Women CEOs are different from their male peers in that they are more often outsiders.
Incoming and outgoing CEOs by insider versus outsider status.
Outsider Insider 35% 22% 78%


That women CEOs are more often outsiders may be an indication that companies have not been able to cultivate enough female executives in-house. So when boards look for new CEOs, they necessarily find a larger pool of female candidates outside their own organizations. Gary L. Neilson, Senior Partner

Women CEOs have about the same professional backgrounds as their male peers in that they:
Usually come from the same region as company headquarters Only sometimes have experience working internationally

Are of similar age

Are rarely granted a joint CEO/chairman title

Our research shows that on the whole, insider CEOs generate higher returns over their tenures than outsider CEOs, so companies seeking to hire women may benefit from looking inside more often than they do today. Per-Ola Karlsson, Senior Partner

How women leave office: more often forced out
Outgoing CEO succession reason by gender Women

13% Outgoing CEO succession reason 60% Planned Forced

51% 38%


Source: The 2013 Chief Executive Study: Women CEOs of the last 10 years

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