From CHRO to CEO


Researchers find that the HR executive role provides the best preparation for becoming a CEO

According to an article published by the Harvard Business Review, there is a strong case for why Chief Human Resources Officers make great CEOs. The role of HR executive has evolved from one that is mainly administrative, and widely perceived as somewhat inferior compared to other c-suite positions

Ellie Filler, a senior client partner in the Swiss office of the executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry, worked with Dave Ulrich, a University of Michigan professor and a leading consultant on organization and talent issues, and they did a study looking at several sets of data, they found surprising evidence of the increasing responsibility and potential of CHRO

First, in order to understand the importance of the CHRO relative to other C-suite positions, looked at salaries and found that CHROs were the next highest-paid executives after CEOs.

“Great CHROs are very highly paid because they’re very hard to find,” Ulrich says.

The researchers also studied proprietary assessments based on various aspects of leadership, and ultimately found that more companies should consider CHROs when looking to fill the CEO position. Because, in the modern economy, attracting the right talent, creating the right organisational structure, and building the right culture is essential for driving strategy—and experience as a CHRO makes a leader more likely to succeed at those tasks.


Related articles

Age is just a number when developing talent

Drawing from the success of the Prescient graduate programme, head of talent Joanne Meyer offers some key insights into what makes a graduate programme truly successful.

MiWay’s Nomvula Nxumalo is a career transformer by choice

Head of transformation, people, and culture at MiWay Insurance, Nomvula “Nomie” Nxumalo’s outspoken nature has helped her transform her career and influence change for other professionals across multiple industries.

Youth Month: empowering future leaders with HR insights and opportunities

June, celebrated as Youth Month in South Africa, shines a spotlight on the pivotal role young people play in shaping the nation's future. During this vibrant month, CHRO South Africa spoke to HR leaders offering invaluable insights on career advancement, leadership development, and driving industry transformation, empowering the next generation to take charge and make a lasting impact.