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In 2002, just over a third of top tier CFOs had non-executive roles. Ten years on, nearly half have them.

Proportion of serving CFOs at the largest companies with non-executive roles in 2002 and 2012

EY - Proportion of serving CFOs at the largest companieswith non-executive roles in 2002 and 2012

In our earlier studies, we showed that most CFOs see their job as a career destination and not a staging-post to the job of CEO.

It is a paradox, then, that unprecedented demand for their unique skill set outside of the finance role — both as a complement to their serving position and as an onward transition — makes them arguably the individual with the most career options in the corporate hierarchy.

Not all will be drawn by this interest in their skills in roles outside of the top finance job. Many will understandably consider the job to offer all the opportunity and interest that they need.

And yet, more CFOs are exploring the options open to them, and many are using the experience of these additional roles to enhance their performance as CFO.

The future of the finance leader has never been so full of possibility.

About the report

This study, in our series that focuses on what it is to be a CFO, looks at some of the possibilities and pathways open to CFOs today. We explore the options for CFOs to take on non-executive directorships on corporate, charitable and cultural boards, as an addition to their finance role.

We cover the opportunities for CFOs to transition to the role of chairman, CEO and to move from public to private ownership. We look back at how the careers of the leading CFOs from 2002 have unfolded over the past decade, and we look forward to how board composition will evolve in the decade to come.

This is for CFOs who are interested in the experiences of others within their community, and for future finance leaders, who need to plan now for a career in the long term and the broadest sense.

 

The study is based on three main elements

 

1

A survey of 800 CFOs world-wide  

2

A study of the career paths of group CFOs at 347 of the world's largest companies over the past decade  

3

A series of in-depth interviews with leading CFOs, governance experts and academics  

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Proportion of serving CFOs at the largest companies with non-executive roles in 2002 and 2012


EY - Proportion of serving CFOs at the largest companies with non-executive roles in 2002 and 2012

* Breakdown includes the top four most popular types of non-executive director roles. Others include risk committee and policy committee.
Source: desktop research into 347 large-company CFOs

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