The days of 20 yrs then becoming a director are over, most of these Tech Companies started in the last 40 yrs, so literally the guys who are execs now are the ones who put in those 20 -30 yrs from inception lol. Most people this day and age company hop to get their promotions, hell my company brought in a new CIO from the outside opposed to promoting someone who might have felt they had "next in line". I want to be out the Private sector as an employee by 40-45. One thing I plan on doing is when I finish this Masters teaching evening classes/online classes at a local university/ Community College to get my stripes for when I eventually work on my Phd.
Yeah that's what I am thinking too, those days are over. I will still aim for it, but just like you I want to be out of the corporate world by 40.
I really love my company and don't want to move around to get a promotion and stay in line with the market salary, but I will do it if I have to.
After I finish my Master's if I can't get what I am looking for from my current company I will look at other options.
What stripes do you need for a Phd?