Knowledge: advance your career. Hire more effectively.

Read or listen to articles published in this section and via BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast series – also featuring interviews with high profile business leaders internationally.

Why aren’t more CMOs getting the CEO role?

Why aren’t more CMOs getting the CEO role?

Raconteur published an article: ‘What’s stopping marketers getting the CEO role’ which got me reflecting on the numerous CMOs I’ve placed who haven’t (yet) made the jump to the CEO job. Of the current FTSE 100, none are former CMOs with the CFO and COO route being a more well-trodden path to CEO.

Here’s what some industry experts attributed this to:

The perception of marketing: Many businesses fail to recognise the value of marketers, overlooking their ability to drive customer-centricity, growth and business evolution.

Lack of ROI focus: Only 17% of marketing decision-makers surveyed see ROI as a top marketing objective, hindering CMOs’ chances of making the jump to CEO.

Communication Challenges: Marketers often struggle to effectively communicate with other business leaders, not spending enough time understanding their perspectives, drivers, and pressures. The message seems to be that marketers need to keep things simple.

Building Alliances: CMOs should aim to forge alliances with leaders from various departments, showcasing their holistic understanding and aligning customer priorities with broader commercial goals.

Cultural Alignment: To be successful, marketers aspiring to be CEOs must prioritise developing the right culture across functions, fostering alignment and collaboration within the organisation.

Do you agree and what else would you attribute to the limited number of CMOs making the top job?

For more help and advice on furthering your CMO career contact me.

About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for scale ups and entrepreneurially driven companies within the retail and consumer sector. 

We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts

Looking for support in Leadership Effectiveness? Speak to our sister company led by Kate Thomas

Focused on Assessment | Executive Coaching | Wellbeing Solutions – Internationally