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Women and Minorities Are Making Headway As Fortune 500 Chief Financial Officers

[NEW YORK] - Mar. 16, 2017 - Women and minorities are increasingly taking the top financial job in Fortune 500 corporations, according to an annual CFO Index produced by Spencer Stuart, the executive recruiting and leadership development firm.

In 2016, slightly less than 13 percent (61) of Fortune 500 CFOs were women, a slight decline from 2015, but nearly double the 6.8 percent in the CFO ranks in 2006. As for minorities, a total of 6.4 percent (31) were ethnically diverse, almost double the number in 2006.

“While there is still plenty of work to do, women and minorities are making steady progress in reaching senior finance roles,” said Karen Quint, a consultant with Spencer Stuart’s Financial Officer Practice. “Looking ahead, we expect these numbers only to increase.”

Industries in which women have made the most progress are consumer goods and services, and technology, media and telecommunications. Industries in which ethnically diverse CFOs have made the most gains are in life sciences and, technology, media and telecommunications.

Average tenure of all CFOs has remained flat over the years and was 5.7 years in 2016. Average CFO turnover was 14 percent. The primary route to the top financial job is controllership and divisional finance. A total of 69 percent of CFOs were promoted from within the organization. Overall, 25 percent had prior public company CFO experience and 14 percent had come from different industries.

A total of 47 percent have MBAs and 36 percent have CPAs. Although 28 percent sit on boards, only nine percent of those boards are Fortune 500 companies.

To see the entire list of Spencer Stuart Board Indexes, please visit the Board Governance page.

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Jim Horton
Marston Strategic Communications LLC
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