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Chief Marketing Officer Tenure Remains Steady at 45 Months

Now in its 10th year, Spencer Stuart study has seen CMO tenure nearly double
March 2014
CHICAGO — The average tenure for chief marketing officers of leading U.S. consumer brand companies stayed at 45 months in 2013, remarkably, the same as the 2012 average, according to the latest CMO tenure study by executive search consulting firm Spencer Stuart. While turnover seems to have stabilized in the past year, average CMO tenure is now more than 21 months longer than in 2004 when Spencer Stuart began tracking CMO tenure. Data for the 10th annual CMO tenure study was based on an analysis of tenure of CMOs of the top 100 advertised brands.

“This is actually great news for the marketing profession. The fact that CMO tenure has been on the rise for the past seven years and has become relatively constant supports our belief that CMOs have truly become deeply rooted in management teams and are leading the charge for how their organizations interact with today’s customers,” said Greg Welch, a consultant in the Spencer Stuart Marketing Officer Practice, who initiated the firm’s first tenure study in 2004. “The responsibility for driving revenue growth clearly now rests with the CMO and serving as the “owner of the consumer voice” inside the company is actually a great place from which to lead.”

Looking ahead, the scope of the already demanding CMO role is only going to increase, according to Tom Seclow, who leads Spencer Stuart’s Marketing Officer Practice. “The influence of digital, which includes everything from mobile to social media, will require marketers to widen their range of responsibilities and assemble teams that can deliver on both the creative and analytical sides of the business.”

As in past years of the study, CMO tenure varies widely across industries. Tenure is shortest in the automotive, communications/media and restaurant sectors, averaging between 27 to 31 months. CMOs in technology companies, meanwhile, continue to enjoy the longest tenure, averaging 64 months — more than 1.5 years longer on average than CMOs overall. Average tenure is 56 months for CMOs of leading financial services firms and 52 months for consumer company CMOs.

Like CMO tenure, average CEO tenure remained consistent between 2012 and 2013 at 85 months.

Average CMO Tenure through the Years (in months)

2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 
 45.0 45.0  43.0  42.0  34.7  28.4  26.8  23.2  23.5  23.6 

Average CMO Tenure by Industry (in months)

 Industry 2013  2012  Percentage change 
Automotive 27 30 -9%
Communications/Media 31 32 -3%
Consumer 52 47 12%
Financial Services 56 54 3%
Healthcare 40 28 44%
Industrial 51 111 -54%
Restaurant 31 32 -5%
Retail/Apparel 50 47 6%
Technology 64 60 8%

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 55 offices in 30 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

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