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November 24, 2022

Chief Audit Executives Doing Alright for Themselves These Days

Perhaps you still don't know what you want to be when you grow up. Don't worry, there's plenty of time to figure it out, but, if I may, don't dismiss the possibility of internal auditing. I'm serious! Yes, most people think probably see it as a sleepy career path of beuracracy and being a stickler, but the function is becoming increasingly important and if you end up a chief audit executive, you'll wind up with a fair amount of clout:

As boards worry more about cyberattacks, regulatory compliance and personal liability, these executives are gaining clout and commanding higher pay.

CAEs are becoming more visible in part because directors are playing a bigger roles in selecting, evaluating and rewarding internal audit chiefs. In North America, about 83% of those executives report to their employer’s full board or audit committee, according to a 2016 report by the Institute of Internal Auditors, a professional association. That’s up from 76% in 2013.

Oh, yes, about that pay:

“Boards will pay a lot more for CAEs with superior risk-management and business acumen in their company’s industry,’’ said Richard Chambers, IIA president.

Recruiters agree. “Chief audit executives hired by large companies now command total pay packages approaching $1 million—about 30% more than a decade ago,’’ said Scott Simmons, a managing director at Crist|Kolder Associates, which recruited nearly 15 current CAEs.

If you see yourself climbing the ladder in a big company, you could do worse.

Anyone pursuing this path? Share your experiences. Sounds like it could be a good option for some people. (And sorry if this ruins it for you.)


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