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School for CEOs releases Research Report “Stepping up to CEO”

9 October 2013

The School for CEOs, where aspiring and current CEOs learn from experienced business leaders, has issued its first Research Report, “Stepping up to CEO”, to coincide with the start of the third Vital Few Programme today. The Vital Few is a carefully-designed two-day residential programme during which experienced business leaders pass on practical guidance and tools to the next generation of CEOs.

The research is based upon over 40 interviews with leading CEOs and Chairmen, who are listed in the Report. 93% of the interviewees said that, depending on the situation, prospective CEOs require more preparation specific to the role. This is largely because the top job in a business is uniquely lonely and bears ultimate accountability.

In particular, they identified some specific aspects of the CEO role that require the most preparation. 25% cited ‘The City’ while 23% prioritised external management/communication and 15% people management/internal communication. Self-management, strategy, governance and execution were also cited.

The Report further determined that there is no one route to the top. The interviewees came from a range of backgrounds and have received a range of different learning experiences during their career. For example, only 23% had MBAs while 27% had undergone a shorter business school programme, with the same proportion receiving coaching and mentoring support. Only 7% had attended a practitioner-led programme, the area the School for CEOs specialises in.

The Report is launched today with a series of seminars for business leaders and senior Human Resources professionals. The Report is available to download at www.schoolforceos/research.

Co-founder of the School, David Sole, business coach and former international rugby captain, said: “I hope this first Research Report, “Stepping up to CEO”, will help future and current CEOs identify the aspects of the job they most need to prepare for. It can also help them work out how best to undertake that preparation.”

Patrick Macdonald, the other co-founder of the School and Chairman of Reconomy, and former Chief Executive of John Menzies plc, said: “It’s illuminating that such a high proportion of business leaders believe that, depending on the circumstances, specific preparation for the CEO role is required. This is the gap the School for CEOs has been set up to fill and we look forward to the start of our third Vital Few Programme today. During the two-day residential programme, experienced business leaders, including CEOs and Chairmen, teach the next generation of business leaders how to succeed in the top job.”

 For more information and to apply for one of the School’s programmes, go to And you can follow us on Twitter at @SchoolforCEOs.


Notes for editors: The School for CEOs is a new concept in senior executive education. It was founded in 2011 by: Patrick Macdonald, Chairman of Reconomy, CEO of Dalestone Energy and former Chief Executive of John Menzies plc; and David Sole, business coach and former international rugby captain. The next programme will take place in London on 5/6 March 2014. The 2-day residential programme will be taught by practitioners: current and former business leaders. It aims to provide senior businessmen and women with the tools they need to become and remain successful CEOs.

For more information and to apply, call 0131 225 5886 or go to


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