The Experiences and Profiles of CFOs in the Swiss Market Index Mid

Leadership StrategiesLeadership
min Report
Jasmine Jenny
December 19, 2023
5 min
Leadership StrategiesLeadership
Executive Summary
We explore the typical profiles of CFOs at Switzerland’s largest 30 mid-cap stocks (SMIM)—and the hiring implications for leaders.


What is the typical profile of a CFO in mid-cap companies in Switzerland? Were most internal hires, or external ones? Do most hold a Swiss passport? And what proportion are women?


To understand the CFO role in Switzerland, we recently analyzed the SMIM – an index of the 30 largest mid-cap stocks in the Swiss equity market. We found:


  • • In a competitive market, companies are increasingly looking to step-up candidates, with 68% of CFOs being first-time in the role.

  • • CFO succession planning has a long way to go, with 57% of SMIM companies hiring their CFOs externally.

  • • CFO diversity remains a priority and a challenge, with women only accounting for 14% of CFO roles.


Route to the Top – SMIM Companies

Route to the top
First-time vs. Experienced hires
Public vs Private Experience


had no prior experience as CFO of a publicly listed company
Internal vs. External


were internally promoted




were externally hired
Sector Experience


were hired from the same sector




were outside-sector hires
Average Age
SMIM CFOs were, on average, 45 years
old when they first took on the role at a publicly listed company.
SMIM CFOs are 51 years of age on average


of SMIM CFOs are women


have aSwiss Passport


Key considerations when looking for your next CFO

  1. Be open-minded when it comes to CFO experiences.
    In an active market, reconsider what experiences are truly necessary for tomorrow’s CFO, especially when looking externally. Requirements, such as Group CFO experience, sector experience, and nationality, will drastically reduce your talent pool.

  2. Develop robust CFO succession pipelines.
    Internal CFO candidates bring deep relationships and an in-depth knowledge of your company. Investing in CFO succession planning will strengthen your bench and mitigate the risk of turnover. Internal development can also be a good lever to increasing diversity, helping you avoid over-fishing a limited talent pool externally.