The challenges and demands on the modern-day CEO: some of Britain’s top business leaders share their insight

If you have ‘a decent brain and super large ears’ then, according to our latest Alexander whitepaper, you might be well qualified to become a CEO. But, you’d also better back up those attributes with a high EQ, resilience, a team playing mentality and authenticity…at least that’s the recommendation from one of the chairs we interviewed for our most recent research – A view from the boardroom.

From ‘command and control’ to ‘consult and collaborate’

The role of the CEO has changed rapidly in recent years from the old ‘command and control’ style of leadership to a more ‘consult and collaborate’ approach. And it’s a change that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Old skills once lauded by businesses and their stakeholders have been superseded by a demand for the CEO to take on a more complex and nuanced role; one that prizes a more human and collaborative approach.

These seismic shifts in the CEO landscape are why we wanted to speak to as many current or former chairs and CEOs to find out more about the changing demands on the modern CEO: the challenges they face; the skills they need to meet those challenges; and just how long today’s CEO can expect to last in the role.

A view from the boardroom is the result of in-depth interviews with nearly 40 high profile business leaders. Key findings include:

  • It’s a tougher job
    The challenges and the complexity of the role have increased for CEOs who are increasingly in the public eye and having to balance the demands of multiple stakeholders. It’s no longer enough to focus on delivering shareholder value.
  • A champion of change
    CEOs must have the ability to drive and manage change over a shorter cycle given the rapid advancements in technology and the shifts in market environments.
  • Only the resilient need apply
    A CEO who can pull their business (and themselves) back from failure is a critical criteria for success.
  • A blurring of roles with the chair
    The defined roles of the past have become less clear.
  • CEO life gets shorter
    Most believe the average tenure of the CEO has decreased with six to seven years seen as the typical tenure.

To find out more about what it takes to succeed or fail as a modern-day CEO, download the full report – A view from the boardroom