The 2012 Chief Executive Study

This is the thirteenth year that Strategy& (Formerly Booz & Company) has examined CEO successions and success among the world’s top 2,500 public companies. This year we focused particularly on the professional and educational backgrounds of new CEOs and on how CEOs should lead through disruption.

view more

In 2012, 15.0 percent of CEOs left office, up from 14.2 percent in 2011. This is the second-highest rate of CEO successions in the history of our study. The new leaders who came into the office were, for the most part, familiar faces: companies promoted people from within 71 percent of the time; a quarter of incoming CEOs had worked at the same company for their entire career; 81 percent of new CEOs had the same nationality as the company’s headquarters; and 95 percent were men.

We also examined what leaders should do when their companies face fundamental disruption, as every company will sooner or later. Our feature article in strategy+business explains how CEOs can navigate to advantage through a disruption. To make sure their company does better than others, chief executives must personally lead an effort that recognizes the disruption’s dynamics, anticipates its likely effect, develops a response, manages that response, and sustains the necessary changes in organization and culture to ensure the company doesn’t backslide.


Key publications

read more
Sooner or later, every corporation will face disruption. If the CEO is not directly involved in guiding his or her company through the storm, the entire company is likely to suffer. Yet even in the worst disruptions, some companies do better than others. This article includes insights from Antony Jenkins, the new CEO of Barclays, and the noted management thinker Clayton M. Christensen.
read more
CEO turnover in 2012 was trending high, but in a more planned and stable manner.
read more
The new CEOs in 2012 had neither the diversity nor the global backgrounds that you might expect.

Additional insights

watch video
See additional insights from the authors on this year’s unprecedented number of planned turnovers and on who the incoming CEOs are.
view more
Explore CEO succession rates by geography, industry, and year.
view more
View this one-page graphic highlighting data on the professional and educational backgrounds of new CEOs in 2012.

Media kit

read more
This year’s data report on CEO successions shows how turnover varied by region and industry. It also highlights many more details on the incoming class of CEOs in 2012, as well as data reaching back to the launch of our study in 2000. The report includes unique evaluations of major trends in corporate governance, such as dual CEO/chairman appointments and how often companies use the apprenticeship model.
read more
Read our global press release for the 2012 Chief Executive Study.