Human Capital & Careers

In Europe’s C-Suites, a Five-Year Itch?

Chief executive officers, finance directors, and chairmen of FTSE 100 companies average a little less than a half-decade in office.
Stephen TaubJune 30, 2006

It seems as if five years is the magic number for executive tenure in Europe, according to a study by Cantos, a London-based online financial broadcaster.

At FTSE 100 companies, chief executive officers average 4.7 years in office; finance directors, 4.8 years; and chairmen, 4.5 years. Cantos also reported that the average age of the chief executives is currently 52 years; of finance directors, 48; and of chairmen, 61.

The longest-serving FTSE 100 CEOs, in order of seniority, are Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP Group (since January 1986), Sir Bill Gammell of Cairn Energy (December 1988), and Charles Sinclair of Daily Mail & General Trust (January 1989).

Sinclair’s finance director, Peter Williams, followed closely on his heels (July 1991). Only four other finance directors surpass him in seniority: Malcolm Wyman of SABMiller (February 1990), John Sheldrick of Johnson Matthey (September 1990), Peter Hooley of Smith & Nephew (April 1991), and David Keens of Next Plc. (May 1991).

The oldest finance directors in the FTSE 100 are Rudy Markham of Unilever (now 60), Bob Barnett of Northern Rock (59), Hooley of Smith & Nephew (59), Alan Thomson of Smiths Group (59), and Simon Gifford of Tate & Lyle (59). Thomson has announced that he will retire in September.

The youngest in the group are Kevin Hart of Cairn Energy (37), Darren Shapland of J. Sainsbury (39), Martin Greenslade of Land Securities (40), Naguib Kheraj of Barclays (41), and David Lloyd of Corus Group (41).