One of the most important aspects of any role is upward mobility. Employees want to know they can advance their career in their job. The potential for upward advancement is often a deciding factor for job seekers with multiple offers, especially for those who hope to stay with the company long-term. Research has shown that certain firms have a much better track record for training their employees for long-term growth and future leadership responsibilities.
A recent study highlighted in Forbes found that large companies in the CPG industry rank highest when it comes to preparing marketers for the role of CEO. By collecting data from LinkedIn, researchers determined which current CEOs had previous marketing experience, and found that CPG companies stood out as the most effective training grounds for future CEOs.
Proctor & Gamble tops the list with more than 20 percent of all the CEOs sampled having previous marketing experience worked at P&G. Other CPG companies that earned a spot on the list include PepsiCo, Unilever, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kraft-Heinz, and Nestlé. Some of these CEOs have worked in marketing at one CPG company and then landed the CEO position at another: for example, Brian Hansberry spent time in the marketing departments at P&G and Heinz before becoming the CEO of Nonni’s Foods. Others got their start in the CPG industry and transferred their skills over to a new sector, like Patrice Louvet, the current CEO of Ralph Lauren, who began her career in brand management at P&G.
How did these high-ranking companies produce so many CEOs compared to other brands in their sector? For starters, they operate in more competitive markets, which means that marketers gain more experience improving growth and dealing with challenges. They have built solid reputations for developing marketing talent for the long-term, encouraging leadership across departments and investing in comprehensive training for their marketers.
Why are international CPG brands such great environments for marketers with their sights set on a C-level role? These businesses have mastered the most important factor: unlike many other companies, big CPG companies are more likely to treat marketing as a profit and loss function. Most businesses don’t take this approach to marketing, but marketers who work in this environment are better prepared to develop and master the skills necessary to become an effective CEO. Job seekers who are already thinking 5-10 years ahead would do well to consider a career with a major CPG brand.
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