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Common traits of the nation’s top earners

Conrad Liveris

The common traits of being a chief executive in Australia include tertiary education, working in a capital city and being named Andrew.

Figures released from consultancy Conrad Liveris show that you’re more likely to be a CEO if you’re a man named Andrew than a woman.

The report shows that 7 per cent of all ASX200 CEOs are named Andrew, 5.5 per cent are named Michael and 5.5 per cent are women.

Besides being named Andrew or Michael, the typical CEO finished school and studied either commerce or engineering at a city university; for example, the University of Sydney or University of Melbourne.


If they studied engineering, they moved into project management for finance experience. If they studied commerce, they moved through accounting and financial units.

The typical CEO’s experience is primarily domestic, with international experience likely to have occurred early on in their career.

Typically, the CEO has been in the company they are running for about a decade.

Before becoming the CEO, candidates typically headed up a business unit or were the CFO of the company.

If a CEO was not the CFO, in 65 per cent of the cases they were the head of a business unit, with no CEOs being appointed from business-wide roles (HR, marketing, legal).

Only 6 per cent of CEOs are founders of their own companies. In some cases, the founder was on the chair, but this is in rare cases.

So what?

CEOs in ASX200 companies have considerable economic clout, which leads to social and political influence. They include some of the largest employers in the country.

“Workforces are made up of a wide group of people with varied skills and experiences, shareholders and consumer markets even more so. A report like this informs markets, workplaces and communities about who makes decisions,” the report said.

Key figures about CEOs in Australia

  • 75 per cent have principally domestic experience
  • 70 per cent were promoted internally to CEO
  • 65 per cent have 10+ years industry experience
  • 34 per cent have undertaken further study
  • 27.5 per cent have an MBA
  • 27 per cent studied engineering
  • 25 per cent studied business/economics
  • 6 per cent studied humanities
  • 4.5 per cent studied law (for those who weren’t CFOs prior to appointment as CEO)
  • 16 per cent have principally finance experience
  • 6 per cent are founders
  • 7 per cent are named Andrew
  • 5.5 per cent are named Michael
  • 5.5 per cent are women

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Common traits of the nation’s top earners
Conrad Liveris
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