What makes a trailblazer? What are the qualities that define those individuals who move effortlessly from one industry to another, amid a growing demand for leaders who can engage and monetise fragmented audiences in a tech-enabled world? Are CEOs switching sectors more than in the past? This was what SRI set out to uncover in Convergence Trailblazers, an unprecedented exercise designed to gain deep understanding of emerging trends in cross-industry leadership.
Methodology and Research
SRI examined a sample of 100 organisations, taking the 20 largest by revenue (or valuation for esports teams) in each of the following sectors: sports leagues, esports teams/franchises, sporting goods/apparel, media/entertainment and technology. We selected the companies by referring to third party company listings sources including Fortune Global 500, Forbes, Investopedia and organisations’ annual reports.
We reviewed the profile and backgrounds of the CEOs of each of these 100 companies to find out:
- Whether they had experience of working in more than one sector. We classified an individual as ‘cross-industry’ if they had worked in a minimum of one other sector in the last 15 years.
- Which sector(s) they had worked in before moving to their current sector.
- What year they had been appointed as CEO, to uncover any variations in the prevalence of multi-industry CEOs according to how long ago they had been hired.
Simultaneously, SRI conducted in-depth interviews with 19 leaders “Convergence Trailblazers” working in one of the following sectors sports, media & entertainment, technology, sporting goods, esports/gaming who have moved across sectors and who are driving change and innovation in their business and beyond. We carried in-depth interviews with each of these individuals to understand their personal career journeys and find out the common drivers and competencies for leaders who successfully switch industries.
Our findings show that industry transition is a fast-growing trend among CEOs and that companies are increasingly looking outside the traditional parameters of their sectors for leaders who can engage and monetise fragmented audiences in a tech-enabled world. From SRI’s interview-based research with some of the world’s leading Convergence Trailblazers we were able to ascertain common traits and competencies that characterise those successfully crossing industries, and what companies should look for in making such a hire. Access our research findings for details.