The Vanishing CEO

September 02, 2006

The Vanishing CEO

What happens if we run out of people who want to be CEOs? It is quite possible that when the baby boomers ride off into the sunset and we are left with the much smaller generation of 35 to 44 year olds, we are not going to have enough CEO-wannabes salivating over that top slot. As several Fortune 500 CEOs continue to exit on a daily basis, it seems that being the top dog is becoming increasingly less attractive to those waiting in the wings.

And how do we reconcile this? Work/life balance continues to be the top employer attribute that recent college graduates want according to research company Universum. This thirst among the younger mindset for “a life” combined with the acknowledged balance-lessness in CEOs’ lives foreshadows a major executive recruitment problem in the years to come.

One generation after another is going to brush aside the opportunity to lead our next Fortune 500 companies. Unfortunately, few companies are worrying about this critical leadership shortage in the long-term. Ultimately, the time will creep up on us when we are not looking.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

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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