Growth Company Leadership Timeline

Russell Reynolds Associates has researched 40 of the Americas and EMEA’s most successful, high-growth tech companies to understand the patterns of best-in-class executive leadership appointments over time.
RRA Growth tech embed
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Beyond the Founding Team:

Growth Company Leadership Timeline

Russell Reynolds Associates has researched 40 of the Americas and EMEA’s most successful, high-growth tech companies to understand the patterns of best-in-class executive leadership appointments over time.

Company parameters included:

  • Founded since 2005 and IPO’d 2017-2021
  • Largest by region according to valuation at time of deal
  • ≥20% revenue growth rate over three year period prior to IPO
CFOs are typically the first executive hire, however most are replaced prior to IPO

Founding

Year 5

First CFO

1992

CFO at time of IPO

IPO

On the average, these companies place the first non-founder leaders...
Founding
Year 5
Major Funding Rounds
CFO
Typically the first placed executive but 60% are replaced by time of IPO
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CEO
Only 30% of companies have replaced the founder CEO
46% of first chairs are also the CEO. 2/3s of those with this combined role are within US-based companies
Year 6
COO
71% of the organizations with remaining founder CEOs have placed a COO
Sales
GC
CTO
78% of the organizations placed a non-founder CTO
Chair
While the majority of the companies placed the first chair an average of 6 years after founding, a full 45% did so in the year prior to IPO
Independent
Director
Year 7
Marketing
Product
Year 8
CHRO
Year 10
While the majority of the companies placed the first chair an average of 6 years after founding, a full 45% did so in the year prior to IPO
% of these C-suite leaders who are external hires
7% have worked
@ Google
5% have worked
@ Microsoft
18% have worked in a
major consulting firm
Additional Facts and Figures
B2B organizations place both sales and marketing leaders on average two years earlier than B2C companies
Companies in EMEA place both their Sales and Technology leaders later in their timeline than those in the Americas (+2 years)
70% of the companies HQ’d or listed in the US are chaired by Founders, even following IPO