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CFO is still a destination role for the majority. 62% of the 347 large company CFOs in the role in 2002 are either still CFOs today, or the role was their last executive post.

Only 15% have transitioned to the role of CEO or CEO and chairman, 4% to chairman and 3% to COO.

"The CFO's role involves coordinating the senior management team and encompasses group skills rather than leadership for the sake of leadership. These skills are also very important for the chairman," - Chris Pierce, CEO, Global Governance Services

Last executive role for the CFO class of 2002

EY - Last executive role for the CFO class of 2002

Source: desktop research into 347 large-company CFOs

However 82% of the CFOs we surveyed for this study expressed an interest in some kind of role post-CFO, which either means that more will pursue executive options outside of the CFO domain in the future, or, more likely, explore non-executive or non-corporate roles.

What is evident is that for most, the skills they hone as CFO will be used in some capacity. We explore the onward paths that some leading CFOs have taken to:

  • CEO
  • Listed to private equity
  • Non-executive director portfolio
  • Chairman

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