If your plan is to participate in the succession career of a Spanish listed company, know that the basic characteristics that are required of a CEO are: being a man, Spanish, being 49 years old at the time of his appointment, having worked in the company for 15 years on average, having a university degree, an MBA, experience in directing teams and in finance. Those are the basic ingredients that have the first swords of the companies that fluctuate in the Ibex 35, according to the study carried out by the firm of scouts Heidrick & Struggles. And one more thing. If you can get hold of the position, keep in mind that the first Spanish executives are those who stay in it the longest when they are registered in the market. "This means that Spain produces very good managers; they are very creative and loyal, that's why the rotation is lower than in other countries, "says Pilar Santiago, managing partner of the executive selection company in Spain.
But national CEOs not only stand out for that. They also do it because they are the youngest at the time of their appointment. Heidrick & Struggles analyzed the profiles of 674 top executives of organizations listed on the benchmark stock indices of 13 countries: Germany, Denmark, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland. The Ibex 35 companies are currently headed by executives with an average age of 56 years, but some occupied the position in the quarantine, such as José Manuel Entrecanales (Acciona), Ismael Clemente (Merlin) or Gabriel Escarrer (Meliá), which throws those 49 years on average, the lowest age after 47 years of the Norwegians. Today, Víctor Grifols, 41, is the youngest Spanish leader, followed by Clemente (48) and Escarrer (49).
For the CEO of Merlin Properties, the rejuvenation of the first Spanish executives is something very recent and has to do with the renewal of business leaders and their boards of directors, "who have sought other age ranges than were usual and, above all, good managers in place of well-connected leaders ". And this renewal has brought a new style of management, adds Ismael Clemente, which is based on having less tolerance for corporate bureaucracy and reducing external signs of power, such as the company car, escorts, etc., he adds.
The United States appoints the CEOs with the highest average age, 52 years. And figure in the third position (behind Italy and France) for over 65. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg, 34, responsible for Facebook, is the second youngest leader, after the German Marc Fielmann (owner of a German optical chain), of 29.
The normal thing is that the top executives of the organizations reach that level through internal promotion. It is the preferred strategy especially in the US, where it occurs in 84% of cases, followed by the Netherlands, in 80%. In Spain, it happens 67% of the time. Portugal is the country that relies least on this system and combines it 50% with outsourcing. Interestingly, when you register senior positions in the market, you are asked to be older than when you are internally promoted. It happens in 11 of the 13 countries studied, with the exception of Spain and Germany. Pilar Santiago justifies this difference with the argument that, when it comes to an external bet, there is a risk factor that the executive does not adapt to the company, and the greater experience usually minimizes that risk.
In the United States, CEOs take that role for 18 years, the country in which they need the most time together with Denmark. United Kingdom is the least, with 11 years. Nationality always counts. Practically all the States analyzed opt for domestic managers to send in their companies. From 100% of Portuguese, to 90% of Americans or 89% of Spaniards. However, the general director of Heidrick & Struggles in Spain believes that this situation will change in our country, after the appointments of foreign CEOs at Banco Santander (Andrea Orcel) and BBVA (Onur Genç). "In 2019 there will be a contagion effect in other companies", coinciding with the need for generational change in the Ibex 35. Only Switzerland opts for outsiders, who account for 52% of the top executives.
Foreigners, no; but international experience, yes. 48% of the leaders have it, especially when they are registered from outside the company. In Holland, globalization has the most predicament, followed by Switzerland, Sweden and Italy. In the USA, where less, with 23%.
In none of the 13 countries studied by Heidrick & Struggles can the presence of female top executives be highlighted. Exceeding 8% of the total leaders of listed companies is a luxury. In fact, it only happens in the United Kingdom, with 8.2%, after experiencing an increase from 6% in 2016. That year, the obligation to publicly report on the evolution of equality in companies was approved. GlaxoSmithKline, Imperial Brands, Kingfisher, Whitbread, Severn Trent, ITV, Royal Mail and GKN are the leading women's brands. In Finland and Norway, women delegates add up to 8%. On the contrary, Italy and Denmark have zero women at the head of their corporations. They are the worst countries in terms of equality. They are followed by Germany, with a meager 1.2%; Switzerland, with 2.1%, and Spain, with 2.8%.