Top CEOs Get Younger, But Not Much

  • By Shin Eun-jin

    May 21, 2020 13:04

    The CEOs of Korea's top 100 companies are gradually getting a little younger and more of them come from business backgrounds rather than being parachuted in by their families.

    The trend reflects nascent efforts to make their top-heavy management structures more efficient amid increasingly difficult economic circumstances.

    According to New Management monthly on Thursday, the average age of 127 corporate CEOs is a sprightly 59.3, down little over a month from last year. Over half come from business backgrounds and the rest studied science or engineering.

    It takes slightly less time for an entry-level worker to rise to the position of CEO. Until 2018, it took 23 years on average, but now that has been reduced to 20.7 years. The average employment period of CEOs has also shrunk from 29.8 years in 2017 to 26.5.

    There is also a growing intake from provincial universities, but the old-boy network from top universities is still strong. The most drastic shift has been a reduction of graduates from Seoul National University, who made up more than half in the mid-90s but now only about a quarter.

    Graduates of Korea University and Yonsei University filled that space, followed by a handful from Hanyang University, Pusan National University, and Sungkyunkwan University.

    About 50 of the CEOs came from Seoul, followed by Gyeongsang provinces and Busan.

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