IR to CEO

Opinion: How IR professionals can make CEO

Oskar Yasar, managing partner of Broome Yasar Partnership, shares his views a pressing issue for ambitious investor relations and corporate affairs leaders: how communicators can reach the top of the career ladder.


Oskar Yasar

Oskar Yasar

We have seen a transformation in the credibility, perception and positioning of investor relations and corporate affairs leaders over the past decade.

Investor relations has changed beyond all recognition, creating possibilities for career progression that were out of the question only a generation ago. Gone are the days when IR was a subset of the communications function, or a back-office junior role within the finance department.

Until recently it was rare for an investor relations or corporate affairs leader to have a seat on a corporate executive committee.

Now, as our recently launched industry study – From Investor Relations to Business Leader – shows, many have successfully made the transition into wider business leadership roles with some former high-profile investor relations directors having made the ultimate move to chief executive.

Communications skills are essential for great leadership


The report provides role models for future career journeys by profiling 13 former investor relations leaders who have used their experience in IR as a stepping stone on the way to the C-Suite.  This trend has seen many transition into other senior roles including CFO, strategy heads, corporate development, and chief of staff – as well as non-executive directorships.

In addition, an increasing number of senior investor relations directors are now taking on the corporate affairs function to broaden their experience and to use this as a stepping stone into a wider business leadership role.

Our latest research, conducted among 150 senior investor relations directors, shows more than a third are keen to transition into a senior leadership role outside of IR over the next 10 years.

Previously, we published another report focusing on the transition from corporate affairs to business leadership. It found that an estimated 33% of a chief executive’s time is now spent communicating.  A growing proportion of future leaders will learn such skills from periods of employment in corporate affairs or investor relations.

Communicators are climbing the corporate ladder


The sophistication of the investor relations and the corporate affairs disciplines has resulted in stronger, more adaptable, ambitious and respected team members.  So, it’s really no surprise that these individuals are moving into ever more senior roles.

As a specialist executive search firm in investor relations and corporate affairs, we have long predicted these trends.  Career advancement in our industry is now limitless and there are numerous examples to prove this.

By raising the profile of our profession as a potential source of the CEOs of the future, we hope and expect this route will become even more well-trodden in the future.

  • You can view Broome Yasar Partnership’s full From Investor Relations to Business Leader report and download a PDF copy here.
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