• 1 in 2 CEOs in the Middle East have cross border experience (49%) compared to APAC (41%) and the global average (36%)
  • However, the region trails behind in gender diversity with only 3% female leaders compared to the global average of 7%

Dubai UAE — Heidrick & Struggles' (NASDAQ: HSII) 2022 Route to the Top report found UAE CEO appointments went down to 6 in 2021; compared to 10 the year before. This was in line with the overall global outlook, as only 4 markets (Hong Kong, Belgium, Canada and Italy) out of the 25 analyzed saw an increase.

With the relentless events of the past two and a half years delivering shock after shock to companies around the world; companies and leaders are expected more than ever to step up as the ultimate representatives of both their companies and the business sector in general. In the Middle East, Heidrick & Struggles’ found that 89% of CEOs have prior C-suite experience overall, highest globally. In particular, the market is opting for candidates with the prior CEO (54%) and other C-suite experience outside of CFO and COO (71%).

“As the Middle East works to keep up with the increasingly volatile global landscape; businesses are leaning towards hiring more experienced CEOs with prior C-suite experience as well as cross-border experience. However, there are still some talent strategies that boards will need to review; such as increasing gender diversity at the top,” said Maliha Jilani, partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Dubai office and Social Impact Practice lead in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Almost 1 in 2 CEOs in the Middle East have cross border experience (49%); compared to APAC (41%) and the global average (36%). While Middle East companies are welcoming CEOs with diverse market experience, the region trails behind in gender diversity, with only 3% of female leaders compared to the global average of 7%. In particular all the CEOs in Saudi Arabia were men.

Diving into UAE, first-time CEOs newly appointed in UAE make up 33%, almost half of global average (60%) However, the CEO pool in UAE still remains young with the market having the lowest average current age globally at 53.1. 43% of newly appointed CEOs in UAE companies are also appointed before the age of 45; significantly higher than the global average of 25%.

View the full global report here: https://www.heidrick.com/en/insights/chief-executive-officer/route-to-the-top-2022


About the Route to the Top 2022 report

The annual Route to the Top report provides an analysis of the profiles of the 1,169 CEOs at the largest publicly listed companies in the following 25 markets: Australia and New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Kenya, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The data reflects the CEOs as of August 14, 2022. The date of analysis is September 10, 2022.

About Heidrick & Struggles

Heidrick & Struggles (Nasdaq: HSII) is a premier provider of global leadership advisory and on-demand talent solutions, serving the senior-level talent and consulting needs of the world's top organizations. In our role as trusted leadership advisors, we partner with our clients to develop future-ready leaders and organizations, bringing together our services and offerings in executive search, diversity and inclusion, leadership assessment and development, organization and team acceleration, culture shaping and on-demand, independent talent solutions. Heidrick & Struggles pioneered the profession of executive search more than 65 years ago. Today, the firm provides integrated talent and human capital solutions to help our clients change the world, one leadership team at a time.® www.heidrick.com

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