The 80-20 Rule Of CMO Promotions Helps Explain Why Marketers Are Seen As Being Too 'Jumpy'


Forbes | March 11, 2019

The Forbes article, "The 80-20 Rule Of CMO Promotions Helps Explain Why Marketers Are Seen As Being Too 'Jumpy,'" was authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Norm Yustin. He explains why most CMOs must switch companies in order to advance in their career. The article is excerpted below. 

Non-marketers often think that CMOs change jobs too much. Though there are several factors that come into play, at Russell Reynolds we’ve uncovered one possible reason for this “ jumpiness.” We’ve found that marketing leaders have only a 20% chance of moving into the CMO role at their existing company. Once appointed as CMO, s/he has only a 20% chance of being internally promoted to a broader role within that company, such as GM or President. This means that 80% of all marketing moves happen only by moving to a different company – basically, implying the need to “ jump” jobs to get ahead. For a complete list of all of the 396 marketing moves reported in 2018, please visit here.


  • CMO succession crisis persists. Nearly 80% of publicly reported chief marketing officer appointments in 2018 were external hires, consistent with the previous year. Just one of every five new CMOs came from within the ranks, which paints a grim picture of internal development processes for marketing talent.

  • Among sitting CMOs, nearly 80% have left their respective company to advance their career. There is little chance of sitting CMOs being internally promoted into a broader role.

  • Record turnover continues. In 2018, we tracked 396 publicly-reported CMO moves in the United States and Canada. This is the highest number we have observed since we began tracking this data in 2014. In 2017, there were 377 CMO moves and 350 in 2016.

  • Gender diversity growth is stagnant. Forty-two percent of 2018 CMO appointments were female, which is relatively constant over the last three years.

To read the full article, click here.