CMO tenure continues steady climb
CHICAGO — The average tenure for chief marketing officers of leading U.S. consumer brand companies rose to 45 months in 2012, a two-month gain over the 2011 average, according to the latest CMO tenure study by executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart. While the 2012 average tenure figure represents a modest increase from the prior year, average CMO tenure is now nearly double what it was in 2006, when it reached a low of 23.2 months. Data for the ninth annual CMO tenure study was based on the CMO tenure at the top 100 advertised brands.
“We see several trends contributing to the increase in CMO tenure. Industry consolidation in some sectors is resulting fewer, but larger CMO roles,” said Greg Welch, a consultant in the Spencer Stuart Marketing Officer Practice who initiated the firm’s first tenure study in 2004. “More broadly, CMOs truly have come of age; the marketing function and its impact today are much more compelling given the emergence of new technologies and ‘modern’ marketing — particularly in the areas of digital, social and mobile. Consequently, it would appear that today’s top marketers are, for the first time in recent history, truly enjoying the full impact that the marketing function can have in propelling an enterprise.”
Furthermore, as the complexity of the role has increased, many CMOs are managing a broader scope of responsibilities, said Tom Seclow, who leads Spencer Stuart’s Marketing Officer Practice. “More and more, these are meaty and more satisfying roles, which in some cases may include general management responsibilities. As they gain credibility among their C-suite peers and find more challenges in their current role, many CMOs are staying in their positions longer.”
CMO tenure varies widely across industries. Tenure is shortest in the healthcare, automotive, restaurant and communications/media sectors, averaging between 28 to 32 months. CMOs in industrial companies, meanwhile, continue to enjoy the longest tenures, averaging 111 months — more than five years longer on average than CMOs overall. Average tenure is 60 months for CMOs of top technology brands and 54 months for leading financial services firms.
Average CEO tenure remained consistent at seven years between 2011 and 2012, a little less than double of the 3.8-year CMO tenure average.
Average CMO Tenure through the Years (in months)
Average CMO Tenure by Industry (in months)
| Financial Services
About Spencer Stuart
Spencer Stuart is one of the world’s leading executive search consulting firms. Privately held since 1956, Spencer Stuart applies its extensive knowledge of industries, functions and talent to advise select clients — ranging from major multinationals to emerging companies to nonprofit organizations — and address their leadership requirements. Through 54 offices in 29 countries and a broad range of practice groups, Spencer Stuart consultants focus on senior-level executive search, board director appointments, succession planning and in-depth senior executive management assessments. For more information on Spencer Stuart, please visit www.spencerstuart.com
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