CEO turnover has become so pervasive in 2021 that news organizations have given it a name: It’s being dubbed “the great resignation”.
The rotating door of executives this year has come as a result of stressed out executives who navigated their firms through Covid and a desire for companies to bring on new talent to help with post-Covid business pivots, according to Reuters.
Recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles conducted a study that showed how CEOs are “not immune to the exhaustion that has swept hundreds of millions of workers worldwide since the onset of the pandemic,” Reuters recently reported.
And now, heading into the back end of 2021 and the front end of 2022, the executive exodus is continuing and is expected to continue.
Jeff Sanders, co-managing partner of Heidrick’s global CEO and board practice, said: “Our belief is that it will only accelerate going into next year as people have delayed their retirements.” Sanders’ study showed 103 CEO appointments in the first half of 2021 versus just 49 CEO changes in the second half of 2020.
“Many CEOs didn’t have to travel as much,” Sanders said, before noting that virtual communication for many CEOs was still “exhausting”.
Despite vaccines acting as a somewhat calming presence that allowed many CEOs to step down, boards were still reluctant to meet with new CEO candidates in person. This could be why 66% of new CEOs were internal candidates, the report said.
And, as there is with every story nowadays, there had to be a racial element to the shift in the C-suite as well. Our “woke” readers will be disappointed to hear that just 13% of new incoming CEOs were women.
Despite 103 CEO changes in companies of all sizes hardly being statistically significant to the Fortune 100, Reuters was forced to add at the end of its reporting that “3% of Fortune 100 CEOs are Black, 4% are Hispanic or Latino, 4% are Asian and 1% are Middle Eastern or North African,” as if the ongoing executive changes were a continued indictment of a racially inequitable business landscape in the country.
There’s no word on whether or not Heidrick & Struggles studied whether or not any CEOs were leaving due to the burdensome and increasing amount of “diversity” training that that needs to take place during normal work hours, when actual work could be getting done.
But, we digress…