SOURCE: Strategy& (Formerly Booz & Company)

Strategy& (Formerly Booz & Company)

June 18, 2014 10:00 ET

What Will Define the CEO of 2040? She Will Be Tech-Savvy, a Great Communicator, and Intimately Focused on Strategy

She'll Also Be More Team-Oriented Than Today's Leaders, More Experienced in Unfamiliar Settings, and Will Run a Dramatically Different C-Suite, According to Strategy& Projections

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Jun 18, 2014) - The big-company CEO of 2040 will more often act like and possess the worldliness, superb communications acumen and intricate subject matter knowledge of a university chancellor than today's CEOs, according to insights developed by Strategy&, a member of the PwC network of firms.

Strategy& (formerly Booz & Company) created a portrait of the next-generation CEO as part of its recently released 14th annual Chief Executive Study, which examines CEO turnover at the world's 2,500 largest public companies.

"In addition to seeing many more women CEOs a quarter century from now, we will see a more inclusive and tech-friendly chief executive, who will better understand how their companies, vendors and customers work in a holistic, deeply integrated system," said Ken Favaro, Senior Partner at Strategy& and co-author of the Chief Executive Study.

Among the projections, based on the firm's analysis of business and leadership trends...

  • A third of new CEOs in 2040 will be women (as opposed to 3.0% now), extrapolating from a 10-year trend in the firm's data, changing social and corporate-governance norms, and the fact that 60% of U.S. college students and 40% of MBA students are now women.

  • Many CEOs will be masters of technology and have a deep understanding of IT across the value chain. In 2040 technology will enable companies to enter new markets and leave shrinking ones with astounding dexterity. And the requirement for scale will diminish greatly -- as long as technology remains at the fore.

  • Investors and shareholders, who will have grown fully attuned to the age of transparency, will scrutinize the CEO of 2040 and demand a high level of accountability. As a result, her communication skills will be superb. Tomorrow's CEO will be responsible -- largely on her own -- for navigating her company's relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, investors, NGOs, and social and environmental groups.

  • The education and early background of the CEO of 2040 -- who is entering the workforce now -- will be different than those of most of today's CEOs. The CEO of the future will have had significant experience working in virtual teams, and will have spent time volunteering, traveling, or working in places that are dramatically different from her home region. (Only 35% of today's incoming class of CEOs had experience working abroad.)

  • The CEO's direct reports and the C-suite will be different. Tomorrow's big companies will be a degree flatter than anything we see today; better decision-support systems and a greater focus on company-wide capabilities will make it easier for information to reach executives quickly. A chief resource officer (CRO) will join the C-suite -- largely in response to the effects of climate change -- while increased integration of strategy with the CEO's roles and responsibilities will do away with today's chief strategy officer.

"By the year 2040, the effects of climate change will shrink the availability of some crucial natural resources -- the creation of the chief resource officer will be a response," said Gary L. Neilson, Strategy& Senior Partner and co-author of the study. "Measuring and counterbalancing the environmental costs of a company's footprint will become a regular practice, and the CEO of the future will be highly in tune with these processes."

About the 2013 Chief Executive Study

For 14 years, Strategy& has examined CEO turnover and the incoming class of CEOs at the world's largest 2,500 public companies, because determining what happens at critical decision points can help us understand what companies are looking for in their CEOs and how the role is changing. Along with overall succession trends, this year's study looks at 2013's incoming class of CEOs, and also focuses on women CEOs over the last 10 years.

This study defines the world's 2,500 largest public companies by their market capitalization as of January 1, 2013, according to Bloomberg. Each company that appeared to have changed its CEO was investigated for confirmation that a change occurred in 2013, and additional details were sought for both the outgoing and incoming CEOs. To view more information about the study, visit

About Strategy&

Strategy& is a global team of practical strategists committed to helping you seize essential advantage. We do that by working alongside you to solve your toughest problems and helping you capture your greatest opportunities. These are complex and high-stakes undertakings -- often game-changing transformations. We bring 100 years of strategy consulting experience and the unrivaled industry and functional capabilities of the PwC network to the task. Whether you're charting your corporate strategy, transforming a function or business unit, or building critical capabilities, we'll help you create the value you're looking for with speed, confidence, and impact. We are a member of the PwC network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax, and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at

About PwC

PwC helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a network of firms in 157 countries with over 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.

PwC has one of the world's largest treasury advisory groups, providing a broad range of complementary treasury, banking, technology, taxation, accounting and programme management skills. We have worked with many of the world's leading corporations to support change in treasury practices and have an enviable track record of successful solutions-based work. We have an extensive knowledge base of treasury standards of the leading corporations. By combining this knowledge with the multi-disciplinary skills of the team, we provide creative and practical solutions to meet the requirements of our clients.

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