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New study reveals key qualities of CEOs who are women

New research, conducted by the Korn Ferry Institute and funded by The Rockefeller Foundation, set out to determine what qualities drive the successful women who make up 6% of CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies.

The study is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100×25 initiative, which has targeted having 100 women leading Fortune 500 companies by 2025. Korn Ferry’s portion of the initiative is called the CEO Pipeline Project.

Korn Ferry analyzed interviews with 57 women who currently are or previously have been CEOs at Fortune 1000 companies. Key findings include:

    • Only 12% of the women set out to be CEO
    • More than 40% started out with college degrees in science, engineering or math
    • There was no single path to the top
    • These women didn’t just prefer difficult and unpredictable work assignments; they sought them out

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