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CEOs' experience and career success in Latin American firms

Maria Rita Blanco (Colegio Universitario de Estudios Financieros, CUNEF, Madrid, Spain)
Miguel Angel Sastre Castillo (Facultad de Comercio y Turismo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

International Journal of Emerging Markets

ISSN: 1746-8809

Article publication date: 2 March 2020

Issue publication date: 21 April 2020




This study investigates the influence of experience – organisational tenure, international experience and springboard role – upon Chief Executive Officers’ (CEOs) time to the top and the time taken by CEOs to reach that position. As work and careers are embedded in economic and institutional environments, although prior Western career studies have explored this relationship, this study aims to determine the suitability of experience as a human capital attribute to explain CEO career success in Latin American firms.


169 Latin American firms were considered (America Economia, 2014). Biographical data about CEOs were manually collected and systematically crosschecked, and multiple hierarchical regressions were employed.


Organisational tenure and lifetime experience were found to reduce the time to the top. International experience delays the time to the top. International assignments closer to HQ do not exert an influence on time to the top. In multilatinas, promoted CEOs who have held Corporate springboard roles get faster to the top than those having held Divisional positions. Findings offer partial support to the human capital theory experience in Latin America, stressing the relevance of cultural, socio-economic and institutional factors.

Practical implications

The identification of career success predictors may enhance the career decision-making processes of individuals and organisations.


This study contributes to human capital and career literature, being the first one to explore the relationship between experience and time to the top in CEOs working for Latin American firms.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees for their constructive comments on this paper and extend the thanks to Prof. Monika Hamori for her useful suggestions on an initial version of this paper. The authors also express gratitude to the UCM-Cofares Research Chair, INBOTS project H2020 and ISDI for its financial support.


Blanco, M.R. and Sastre Castillo, M.A. (2020), "CEOs' experience and career success in Latin American firms", International Journal of Emerging Markets, Vol. 15 No. 6, pp. 1083-1104.



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