2001: Why CEOs fall — The causes and consequences of turnover at the top

The 2001 study was created to chart relationships among CEO tenure, CEO demographics, and corporate performance, and to compare trends in these areas across geographies or industries. The study examined the departing CEO classes of 1995, 1998, 2000, and 2001, for the 2,500 largest public companies in each given year. Among the findings were that from 1995 to 2001: turnover of the CEOs of major corporations increased by 53 percent; the number of CEOs departing because of the company’s poor financial performance increased by 130 percent; and the average tenure of CEOs declined from 9.5 years to 7.3 years. In addition, the study found significant and surprising differences among geographic regions. In Europe, where corporate chiefs were presumed to be more protected by intimate relationships among senior management, boards, governments, and financial institutions, CEOs were actually most at risk. In the Asia/Pacific region, where such relationships also were presumed to exist, changes in CEO careers and CEO turnover were minimal.

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An exclusive study of the world’s 2,500 largest companies shows CEO succession has increased by 53 percent in just the last six years. The reason: shareholders want returns now.read more on strategy+business >


Past studies