Consulting firms are the top CEO factories, says OnDeck report

26 October 2023 2 min. read
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Consulting firms are the top “CEO factories,” according to a recent report from OnDeck, a small business lending firm.

OnDeck’s research, which was conducted in August, drew on publicly available data from LinkedIn. The rankings for general, tech, retail, and finance categories included US companies with 10,000 or more former employees.

Overall, consulting firms were the top five CEO-producing companies. McKinsey & Company took first place, with 7.10% of former employees becoming CEOs, followed by Bain & Company (6.67%), BCG (6.03%), Kearney (5.60%), and Oliver Wyman (5.30%).

The OnDeck report pointed to former consultants being particularly suited to running companies in times of crisis, since they are well-versed in analyzing problems and improving the value of a company over a short time frame.

Consulting firms are the top CEO factories, says OnDeck reportOn a broader level, management consultants are popular candidates for CEOs because they are the people brought in to improve companies. Wouldn’t they be well-suited to successfully run a company if they’re selling expensive advice on such matters?

The top management consultancies also recruit from the top segments of elite business schools and have rigorous selection processes.

Furthermore, during their time at a firm, consultants will build robust networks with the clients they advise – often in the C-suite. As such, consultants will frequently be tapped by former clients to leave consulting for industry roles.

Within the technology category, Booz Allen was the top CEO factory, with 3.14% of former employees being CEOs. The management and technology consultancy was followed by AOL (2.68%) and Yahoo (2.58%).

In finance, Lazard (4.70%), Goldman Sachs (3.65%), and Morgan Stanley (3.05%) were the top CEO-producing firms.

In retail, the top companies were Procter & Gamble (3.52%), Revlon (2.12%), and Mattel (2.01%).