Younger CEO


India’s booming economy has thrown up an interesting side-effect. The average age of Chief executives officers is coming down rapidly. A study conducted by global recruiting firm EMA Partners reveals that the average age of Indian Corporations chiefs across industries has dropped by as much as nine years in the last five years.

The number of younger people getting into top executive positions is more pronounced in emerging sectors like IT and ITeS and banking and financial services, compared to old economy areas like manufacturing, says a managing director of a recruiting company.

The average age of a CEO in the banking and financial sector has dropped to 42-45 years in 2006 from 49-52 years in 2001. In technology and software services, the average age of CEOs has come down to 36-40 years from 40-42 years in 2001.

Manufacturing however continues to be the bastion of older honchos with average age of 48-53 years in 2006 compared to 56-62 in 2001. Interestingly, this sector witnessed the biggest drop in average age by nine years.

There is a co-relation between the drop in the average age and the burgeoning demand for senior professionals. Sectors like IT, BPO, financial services are witnessing great demand and younger executives have given the traditional industry like manufacturing a miss while selecting their career.

The drop in the average age of leadership positions in corporate companies reflected the evolution and maturity of different sectors. While manufacturing is a matured field in India, sectors like IT, ITeS, banking and financial services are relatively new and still moving towards maturity.

The drop in average age is also witnessed in the chief financial officer and human resources head positions. According to the study, the average age of the CEO in banking and financial services has come down to 37-40 years in 2006 from 42-45 years. In technology and software, it was down to 36-39years (2006) from 39-42 years in 2001, while in manufacturing it was down to 46-50 years from 49-55 years

The study points out that young managers re no longer willing to go through the grind of the shop floor in remote factory locations or working in difficult markets. They prefer high growth emerging businesses and dual careers (working spouses) compound the problem.

We conclude that in addition to more or higher growth potential in new sectors a careful and prudent career planning by qualified and skilled youth with zeal to excel is also resulting in dropping of average age for CEO and CFO or such positions. Today opportunities are galore for capable youngsters and specialized courses can be pursued and opportunities can be capitalized.


A bank manager was interviewing four very different applicants from his short list for the position of clerical. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable person for the job.
He asked each applicant the question,
“What is two and two?�
The first interviewee was a journalist. His answer was “Twenty-two.� The second applicant was an engineer. He pulled out a slide rule and showed the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.

The next person was a lawyer. He stated that in the case of Jenkins v Cromwell two and two was proven to be four. The last applicant was an accountant. When the bank manager asked him, “How much is two and two?�, the accountant got up from his chair, went over and closed the door. He came back, sat down, leaned across the desk and said in a low voice, “How much do you want it to be?�
He got the job!

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