Female CEOs in the UAE make up 5 percent, almost on par with the global number
Companies in the first half of 2021 appointed a record number of CEOs, making up for a significant slowdown in the second half of 2020, according to the 2021 Route to the Top report from Heidrick & Struggles. The global report also shows that compared to their predecessors, new CEOs are more likely to be women (11 percent), to be from countries other than where the company is headquartered (30 percent) and to have cross-border experience (46 percent).
The United Arab Emirates report also shows that 42 percent of the new CEOs have advanced degrees, and 16 percent have cross-border experience, while 23 percent have less than one year of experience as CEOs.
Alain Deniau, head of CEO & Board of Directors Practice of Heidrick & Struggles in MENA region pointed out, “The findings from this year’s report show that trends in UAE are in line with global standards in most areas, however when it comes to non-national CEOs, UAE stands out (with 42 percent compared to 24 percent globally). It’s also worth mentioning that the first half of 2021 shows a record number of CEO appointments globally, the highest since 2018.”
Additional findings from the UAE “Route to the Top” 2021 report reveal that 42 percent were appointed before the age of 45, hold 5.9 years of average tenure. Over one-third of CEOs with previous C-suite experience appointed in the UAE in the first half of 2021 (35 percent) came from a previous CEO role while 30 percent were formerly heads of divisions. Only 2 percent had previous COO experience, compared to 14 percent globally.
Women make up 5 percent of CEOs in the UAE today, almost on par with 6 percent globally. Sweden has the highest percentage of CEOs with cross-sector experience (45 percent) while CEOs in the United Arab Emirates have the lowest share (12 percent).
The annual study of CEO placements provides an analysis of the profiles of the 1,095 CEOs at the largest publicly listed companies in 24 markets as of July 5, 2021. Included in the report’s data are companies from Australia and New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.