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Mark Byford

Mark Byford Egon Zehnder, London

The Sunday Times – “The Young lead a charge to the top”

With the younger generation rising up the corporate ladder into top roles earlier than ever before, companies need to re-think how they approach developing and training the next generation of leadership talent. There’s no doubt chief executives are getting younger. Egon Zehnder, the headhunter, found that the proportion of top chief executives in their forties doubled in the 15 years to 2010.

Boards are becoming more open to younger leaders, said Mark Byford, a partner at Egon Zehnder. “The ice is certainly breaking a bit. Before, boards were used to dealing with a certain type of individual and would say, ‘We want this many years of experience’, and have pretty set requirements. The inclusion agenda has forced boards to be more creative.”

The evolution of technology has also played a part, said Byford, 52. With many businesses pursuing a digital strategy, hiring top people with a propensity for innovation is essential.

“It varies a lot by sector,” said Byford. “In some of the new, technology-intensive industries you see very young entrepreneurs coming through, and in some of the more well-established sectors, such as clothing, you see people in their sixties who are still dynamically driving their businesses forward and creating new opportunities. In that instance, the skills they learnt 30 or 40 years ago are still relevant.”

Full Story: Young lead charge to top in “The Sunday Times” (15 September 2013).

Mark Byford

Mark Byford Egon Zehnder, London