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Feb 16, 2022

How many CEOs have an IR background? More than you think, says executive search consultant

The fourth video in a series on careers advice for IR professionals

Over the last 10 years, an increasing number of IR professionals have made the step up to CFO roles. It’s a sign of the growing caliber of individuals coming into the profession, as well as the view at many companies that IR offers great experience for future finance leaders.

What’s less common – and less talked about – is former IROs ending up in the top job as chief executive. But there are more CEOs with a background in IR than you may think, says Smooch Repovich Reynolds, CEO and founder of SmoochUnplugged.

‘We don’t hear about it very much, but I suspect there are more CEOs who’ve done a tour of duty through the IRO chair than we know about,’ she says. ‘I think the journey between CFO and CEO is a rather long one, simply because I think you need to move into different senior management team roles, maybe lead an operating group or a geographic region.

‘But I’ve always believed, for more than two decades, that IR people – because they’ve been at the nexus of everything that makes a company tick – have the ability to move to the CEO chair. And I think it’s exciting to see that some of this is happening, even if it’s not quite as public as we would like it to be.’

This is the fourth episode in a video series focused on helping IR professionals achieve their career goals. If there’s a particular topic you would like to see discussed, please email