This Is What You Need To Become A CEO Of An ASX 200 Company

Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev. Getty

The CEOs of Australia’s to 200 companies listed on the ASX have a number of traits in common.

The average is a man aged about 54 who went to the University of NSW and studied business.

An MBA doesn’t seem to be a big help in getting the big job. A few of the CEOs have one but not a lot.

And if you want to be like them, it may also help if you were born outside Australia. The UK is the best.

Most heads of ASX 200 companies are men.

Recent reports show that this is changing, and women are gaining ground, but the fact remains that being a man puts you alongside most of the CEOs.

The second common trait is that more than half were born outside Australia.

Qlik, a US-based data discovery group, crunched the numbers across the 200 ASX listed companies. It created an app to analyse the data.

Men hold the top position of CEO at 95% of the 200 companies.

And they got to that position at an early age. The youngest male CEO is 37 years old, while the youngest female is 47.


However, females tend to stay in their higher management positions for longer with the average tenure being 6 years compared to males with only 5 years.

Overall, males still remain in the top spot later in their career with the oldest male being 72, while the oldest female is 58 years old.

The average age of both male and female CEOs is 54.


Females earn a higher salary, getting an average of $4.1 million a year compared to their male counterparts on $2.5 million.

This is likely due to the fact that female CEOs are better represented in the Banking and Finance industries where companies have a higher market capitalisation and pay a bit more than average.

CEOs in the banking sector outperformed their peers in terms of salary compared to other industries, earning an average of $7 million a year.

The transport and manufacturing industries follow in second and third position, with an average of $4.4 million and $4.3 million respectively.


Most CEOs attended university (96%) with more than half going to an Australian university (52%).

The University of New South Wales produced the most number of CEOs based on those who attended local universities, with 11.9% closely followed by Monash University and The University of Queensland both accounting for 9.2% each.

The most popular subject studied was business (31%), while the most common degree was a Bachelor’s (34%). Only 17% of CEOs has an MBA.

Local versus International CEOs

More than half of Australia’s CEOs were born overseas (53%) with the highest proportion of CEOs originating from the United Kingdom.

While 80% of CEOs surveyed live in Australia, the remaining 20% have a global remit and are based overseas, mostly in the US.

Sharryn Millican, Vice President and Regional Director, ANZ at Qlik, says it’s surprising to see little has changed when it comes to the lack of gender diversity in the boardroom and the fact that the average CEO is still likely male and his fifties.

“However, it also interesting to discover that you don’t necessarily need to attend the top universities around the world and only study Business or Commerce in order to become a CEO,”she says.

The analysis was done using an app built on Qlik Sense, a next-generation self-service data visualisation application.

You can play with the data HERE.

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