There has been a sharp increase in the number of FTSE 350 CEOs leaving their businesses.
In fact, chief execs stepping down jumped by 162.5 per cent this year, compared to a year ago.
The figures by advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates are more extreme than those seen in the US where year to date CEO departures only increased by 31 per cent.
The resignations signal a return to the pre-pandemic trend of decreasing CEO tenures.
The rate of FTSE 350 departures grew by 15 per cent between 2017 and 2020, reaching a high of 40 before the pandemic.
That pattern was disrupted in 2021 as CEOs and boards alike preferred continuity through a period of extreme uncertainty and disruption.
The end of lockdown has seen a revival in CEO departures this year as the backlog of leadership changes is worked through, but the pandemic has also fundamentally changed priorities.
The experience of supply chain shortages, Ukraine and the pandemic have revealed the breadth of skills required by the modern CEO and left many boards looking for a different kind of leader to help them rebuild. CEOs too are looking for something different.
Many are attempting to preserve the extra family time they became accustomed to during the pandemic by finding roles which offer greater flexibility.
The disruption in CEO turnover last year has created succession bottlenecks in some of the UK’s most successful businesses.
Many CEOs stayed in their roles longer than planned in order to see their companies through the difficult Covid-19 period, and those tapped as future leaders were ultimately forced to wait another year.
This would have forced some future leaders to move on to another company. Data from the 2022 UK edition of the Global Leadership Monitor report also showed that 43 per cent of C-suite/next-generation leaders in the UK are not confident in the succession plans at their organisation.
|Year||Number of CEO departures||YOY percentage change|
|2022 (forecast)||32 (21 completed + 11 announced)||+78%|
“The rate of CEO departures has been rising just as the expectations of employees, policy makers, investors, and the public have,” said Luke Meynell, UK board and CEO advisory Group lead at Russell Reynolds Associates.
He added that “today’s CEOs are expected to hold a strong ethical message, that translates into action via the business’ CSR initiative – all while keeping business strategy on course. This is a remarkably difficult task.”
“In the years to come, we could see more than just a return to pre-pandemic levels of CEO turnover.”Luke Meynell
“The pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have battle hardened board rooms and revealed the breadth of emotional and technical skill required to steer organisations through periods of change,” he said.
“Businesses are shopping for a different type of leader, one who can address the ethical and practical challenges of decarbonising business models while responding to inflation,” Meynell concluded.