- The average tenure of Fortune 500 CMOs was 4.2 years in 2022, down from the 4.5 year average seen the year prior, according to a new study by Spencer Stuart. The average tenure for the top 100 advertisers was 3.3 years.
- While tenure length decreased, diversity increased. Forty-seven percent of Fortune 500 CMOs were women in 2022, up from 44% in 2021. Additionally, 14% of this group were from historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, up 12% from the year before.
- The report also found 54% of CMOs were promoted from within their current company, down slightly from 56% in 2021. Among those who were hired from outside the company, 37% came from a different industry.
CMO tenure continues to fall, and remains one of the shortest tenures in C-suite. The drop could be reflective of the still tumultuous marketing industry, with brands continuing to search for their identity post-pandemic. However, the “CMO Tenure Study: An Expanded View of CMO Tenure and Backgrounds,” found differences between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies in the Fortune 500. The average tenure at B2B companies was 4.4 years, slightly longer than the average, while the tenure at B2C companies was only 4.1 years.
While CMO tenure is one of the shortest in the C-suite, it is only slightly shorter than the overall average of 4.4 years. However, it is significantly shorter than the CEO tenure, which is the longest at 6.7 years. The only positions with shorter tenure than CMOs are chief sustainability officers (3.4 years), chief operating officers (2.9 years) and chief inclusion and diversity officers (2.7 years).
Short tenure should not be conflated with poor performance, per Spencer Stuart. Among the B2C-heavy top 100 advertisers, almost 30% of CMOs were new to the job in 2022, with less than 12 months or less of tenure. Additionally, 77% of exiting CMOs in the top 100 go on to bigger roles. Among Fortune 500 companies, only 18% of CMOs were new to the position in 2022.
The top 100 advertisers also boast 53% of women in CMO roles, up from 50% the year prior. A similar trend was seen with CMOs from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, increasing from 15% to 18% in the top 100 advertisers.
Internal hiring also seems to be the norm. Sixty percent of CMOs at the top 100 advertisers were promoted from within the company. However, 54% of CMOs at Fortune 500 companies were internal hires, down from 56% the year before.