Women CFOs Hit an All-Time High

Although the percentage remains low, women and racial and ethnic minorities
continue to increasingly fill executive roles.

2022 brought us a year in which the percentage of CFOs who are women hit an all-time
high. Additionally, according to the Crist Kolder Volatility Report, female CFOs have just about
doubled over the past 10 years. Most of which are in the financial, technology, services, and
industrial sectors.

Crist Kolder, an executive recruiting firm, released its annual report which compiles data made
from more than 650 companies taken from the Fortune 500 and the S&P 500.

Crist Kolder began tracking such data in 2004. At this point, women made up 6.3% of CFOs.
Last year, in 2022, women made up 16%. Out of the 650 companies analyzed, 110 companies
had female CFOs. This number is up from 63 in 2012 and 35 from the start in 2004. According
to the report, women make up about 8% of CEOs, an all-time high, and the number of female
CEOs has increased for the fourth consecutive year, most being in the financial sector. However,
gender diversity among CEOs is still relatively low.

To take a deeper dive into the numbers, for CFOs, promotions to the CEO position is in an
upward trend. About 8% of the current CEOs come directly from CFO positions. A positive
increase over the last decade. This trend of CFO-to-CEO happens to be the most common in the
financial sector, having about 26% of CEOs in the sector coming directly from a CFO position.
The next closest sectors are sitting at 17% each and those were the industrial, services, and
consumer industries.


  • Since 2020, there has been a big fall off on external hiring of CFOs. Last year in 2022,
    about 35% of CFOs were recruited from outside the business, down from 43% in 2020
    and down from a historical average of 38%.
  • 54% of sitting CFOs come from public universities. Penn State, Virginia, and Indiana
    topping those public universities. Penn, Notre Dame, and Duke top the private
  • The majority of CFOs who earned an undergraduate degree in business (61%), majored
    in accounting (45%).
  • The longest-tenured CFOs reside in the financial and industrial sectors.
  • The average tenure of a CFO is 5.7 years in the financial sector, 5.6 years in the industrial
    sector, 5.3 years in the retail sector, and 5.2 years in the technology sector.
  • Ethnic and racial diversity amount CEOs/CFOs has increased over the years. 10% of
    companies have diverse CFOs, up from 5% in 2014 and about 3% in 2004.

Looking to help inspire a future female CEO? Check out our previous post with ideas on teaching kids the basics of financial statements!

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