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Research and Insights

Our Global Financial Leaders 2015 report revealed five important differences between pre-crisis/crisis 2008-10 and post-crisis appointments.


Leadership age has increased to 59 from 51. Talent needs and economic situation in different regions have influenced to the career ladder in varying ages. Average age for leadership appointment is 57 globally for big banks. However, in Europe leadership comes at older ages – 60 than others. Interestingly, in Asia-Pasific all bank leaders other than based in China has similar age indicators. The youngest member of the global financial leaders is at 43 age – Chairman of the China Merchant bank, while the oldest is Brazilian banker Lázaro de Mello Brandão (Banco Bradesco) at his 89 age. Average age of financial leaders in 2015 is 63.

More woman represented, four out five women in leadership position have been appointed in the last two years. Gender proportion is not balanced as one may expect, 93% of the whole pool consists of men and only 5 women represent global banks market capitalization is more than 20bln USD. In 2013 and 2014, two women appointed as chairpersons at India's largest banks.

Shareholders opt to prefer expat bankers rather than local bankers, i.e. leadership has been globalized /share of foreign-country born leaders has changed from 4% to 17% among appointed chairpersons. However, even the global banks may seem national in the context of leadership, we found 89% of financial leaders are the nationals of the country where the bank have been headquartered. There is no any country which received more than one banker expat among the analyzed largest banks.

All of central bankers and public policy makers appointed to the leadership role took place in post crisis with 11 of 49 new appointees. Banking industry experience have been quiet important to become chairman, but former public policy makers/central bankers and also other lines of the financial industry provided banks with leaders. Central Banking/Public policy background plays an important role in Europe consisting of roughly 30% of financial leaders analyzed.

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Chances of law educated leaders have increased almost  two times - 1:7 vs 1:13. Business/Economics educated financial leaders are core feeders of large banks. The Europe differentiates itself from other regions with mix of subject differences in financial leaders: 16% from legal studies; 12% from political studies; 20% from other subjects, while 52% with business background.


Authors: Fakhri Ahmadov is Managing Director at the firm, fakhri@ahmadoff.com; Nadir Bakhishov is Executive Director and Head of Eastern Europe, nadirb@ahmadoff.com 

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