Nov 18, 2021 - Economy

CEOs join the Great Resignation

CEO appointments at the largest public companies
Reproduced from Heidrick & Struggles; Chart: Axios Visuals

CEOs, like the workforce at large, delayed their job quitting plans in the chaos of 2020. Now they’re making up for lost time, and are just as much a part of the Great Resignation as their employees, a report out today from executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles shows.

Why it matters: The latest class of CEOs will help lead the world through a host of thorny modern issues — like cybersecurity, sustainability and digital transformation.

Driving the news: In the first half of 2021, 76 CEOs were appointed at the 1,095 largest public companies from 14 countries. That’s a record for any six-month period since the report's authors began tracking.

What they found: The new top leaders are more likely than their predecessors to be women, and to be from countries other than where the company is headquartered.

  • They’re also more likely to have experience beyond the traditional CFO and COO feeder roles, in a sign that boards are willing to expand the definition of what qualifies a candidate for the role.

The bottom line: “The top job, like so many others, has been altered by the rapid changes that have taken place over the last 18 months," said Jeff Sanders, co-managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles' CEO & board of directors practice.

  • "[B]oards and organizations are taking a more expansive view in their CEO succession planning,” he said.
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