CEO Departures — Every 5 Days

December 01, 2007

CEO Departures — Every 5 Days

chuteslad.jpgWe just released our new findings on Global 500 CEO Departures. Just as it was released this week, I see the news that Motorola’s CEO Ed Zander stepped down. As I have noted many times, being CEO today is a treacherous job. The shelf life is short and reputations quickly tarnished. Here are some of the key findings.

  • Over 10 percent of the world’s largest companies lost their CEOs in the first three quarters of 2007. This departure rate amounts to a CEO departure among the world’s largest-revenue producing companies nearly every 5 days.

Global CEO Turnover by Region: First Three Quarters 2006 vs. 2007
 20062007
RegionTotal (#)Percent (%)Total (#)Percent (%)
North America168.7%126.7%
Europe179.3%2412.6%
Asia Pacific1915.5%2016.4%
Latin America00%110.0%
Total 5210.4%5711.4%

2007 saw more chief executives exit during the first quarter than the following two quarters (26 vs. 15 vs. 16, respectively) and when compared to the first quarter of 2006 (26 vs. 16, respectively).   

Global CEO Turnover by Quarter: First Three Quarters 2006 vs. 2007

Overall, 28 percent of chief executives who left office in the first three quarters of 2007 exited involuntarily. European CEOs were more likely to be pressured to leave their jobs than their regional counterparts.  While only two European CEOs were forced out of office by the end of the third quarter in 2006, nine European CEOs exited involuntarily during the same time period in 2007 – a 350 percent increase.  

Ousted Global CEOs By Region: First Three Quarters 2006 vs. 2007
 20062007
 Total (#)Percent (%)Total (#)Percent (%)
North America318.8%325.0%
Europe211.8%937.5%
Asia Pacific842.1%420.0%
Latin America00%00%
Total1325.0%1628.0%

For the first three quarters of 2006 and 2007, insider executives continued to outnumber outsider executives when new CEOs were selected to lead the world’s largest companies.  Interestingly, 2007 had an even greater proportion of insider CEO successions than seen in 2006 (70 vs. 64 percent, respectively).

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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