CMO tenure rises to 45 months

New Spencer Stuart study on chief marketing officers in the US finds average tenure has nearly doubled since 2006

The average tenure of chief marketing officers has increased to 45 months, according to the latest report from executive recruitment and consulting group, Spencer Stuart.

The ninth annual CMO tenure study found CMOs at leading US consumer brand companies rose two months to 45 months last year, nearly double what it was in 2006 when it reached lows of 23.2 months. The tenure of marketing chiefs proved shortest in the healthcare, automotive, restaurant and communications/media sectors, averaging between 28 and 32 months. Those CMOs staying in the longest in one role are in industrial companies and average 111 months – more than five years longer than CMOs overall.

The report also found the average tenure for CMOs of top technology brands is 60 months, and 54 months at leading financial services firms.

Spencer Stuart consultant, Greg Welch, cited several trends helping to keep CMOs in their jobs for longer, including consolidation of roles across several industry sectors, along with a rise in responsibility these individuals have due to added complexity in the marketing function.

“CMOs truly have come of age; the marketing function and its impact today are much more compelling given the emergence of new technologies and ‘modern’ marketing – particularly in the areas of digital, social and mobile,” Welch commented.

“Consequently, it would appear today’s top marketers are, for the first time in recent history, truly enjoying the full impact that the marketing function can have in propelling an enterprise.”

Lead for Spencer Stuart’s Marketing Officer Practice, Tom Seclow, claimed the role of the CMO is becoming an increasing “meaty” and more satisfying one and now often include general management responsibilities.

“As they gain credibility among their C-suite peers and find more challenges in their current role, many CMOs are staying in their positions for longer,” he added.

In contrast, the average CEO tenure has remained consistent across 2011 and 2012 surveys at seven years.

The Spencer Stuart study was based on CMO tenure at the top 100 advertised brands.

More from Spencer Stuart on the role of the CMO: 10 leadership strategies CMOs should be embracing

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia or take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia.

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