Are CEOs less ethical
than in the past?

Explore the findings in our latest CEO Success study

For 17 years, Strategy& has been analyzing CEO succession at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.

In this year’s report, we take a special look at why more CEOs are being forced out of office due to ethical lapses and how companies can build a culture of integrity.

In addition, we have our annual analysis on CEO turnover and the 2016 incoming class of CEOs.

Key findings

  • Accountability on the rise
  • Turnover rate declines
  • Small progress for women

Boards of directors, institutional investors, governments and the media are holding chief executive officers to a far higher level of accountability for ethical lapses than in the past. Globally, CEO dismissals for ethical lapses increased from 3.9% of all successions in 2007-2011 to 5.3% in 2012-2016—a 36% increase.

Find out more about CEO accountability

CEO turnover at the world’s largest 2,500 companies decreased from its record high of 16.6% in 2015 to 14.9% in 2016, due largely to the drop in merger and acquisition activity.

Find out more about CEO turnover

Globally, companies appointed 12 women CEOs in 2016—3.6 percent of the incoming class. This marks a return of the slow trend towards greater diversity that had been in place over the last several years—and a recovery from 2015’s recent low point of 2.8 percent.

Find out more about the 2016 incoming class of CEOs

Strategy&'s CEO Success study annually highlights the incoming class of CEOs at the world's largest 2,500 public companies.

See how women, outsider CEOs, those with MBAs, and others fared in this year's class.

2016 Incoming Class of CEOs

Explore 17 years of CEO changes

Using the drop-down menus below, choose a region and industry to compare turnover rates across years; or choose a region and year to compare across industries; or choose an industry and year to compare across regions.

Turnover rate
Type: Planned Forced M&A
Columns may not add to totals due to rounding.

Regional Breakdown

U.S./Canada:  This region includes the United States and Canada.

Western Europe:  This region includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Other Mature:  This region includes Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Chi'le, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and United Arab Emirates.

BRIC: This region includes Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Other Emerging:  This region includes Cayman Islands, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua N. Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.

Regions are classified as mature or emerging based on the U.N. Development Programme rankings.

Industry Breakdown

Consumer Discretionary: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: advertising, apparel retail, auto parts and equipment, automobile manufacturers, broadcasting, cable and satellite, computer and electronics retail, consumer electronics, department stores, distributors, education services, homebuilding, hotels, resorts and cruise lines, leisure products, publishing, restaurants, and tires and rubber.

Consumer Staples: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: agricultural products, biotechnology, brewers, food retail, health care equipment, health care services, health care technology, hypermarkets and super centers, life sciences tools and services, managed health care, packaged food and meats, personal products, pharmaceuticals, soft drinks, and tobacco.

Energy: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: coal and consumable fuels, integrated oil and gas, oil and gas drilling, oil and gas equipment and services, oil and gas exploration and production, oil and gas refining and marketing, and oil and gas storage and transportation.

Financial Services: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: asset management and custody banks, consumer finance, diversified banks, diversified capital markets, diversified real estate activity, investment banking and brokerage, life and health insurance, multi-line insurance, multi-sector holdings, other diversified financial services, property and casualty insurance, real estate operating companies, real estate services, regional banks, reinsurance, specialized finance, and thrifts and mortgage finance.

Industrials: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: aerospace and defense, air freight and logistics, airlines, airport services, construction and engineering, construction and farm machinery, electrical components and equipment, heavy electrical equipment, highways and rail tracks, industrial conglomerates, industrial machinery, marine ports and services, office services and supplies, railroads, research and consulting services, and trading companies and distributors.

Information Technology: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: application software, communications equipment, data processing and outsourced services, electronic components, electronic manufacturing services, home entertainment software, internet software and services, IT consulting and other services, semiconductor equipment, semiconductors, and systems software.

Materials: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: commodity chemicals, construction materials, diversified chemicals, diversified metals and mining, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, gold, industrial gases, metal and glass containers, paper packaging, paper products, precious metals and minerals, specialty chemicals, and steel.

Telecom: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: integrated telecommunication services and wireless telecommunication services.

Utilities: This industry grouping includes the following subindustries: electric utilities, gas utilities, independent power producers, multi utilities, and water utilities.

Industry classifcations come from Bloomberg.