Global CEO Turnover Index

We share the latest CEO turnover data across listed companies globally. Each quarter, you’ll find the proportion of CEO departures and appointments globally, as well as trends on CEO appointments by gender, tenure, and whether CEOs are internal or external hires.
Global CEO turnover - Russell Reynolds Associate

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CEO Turnover Index Q1 2024: Key trends

 

01

CEO turnover spiked in the first quarter of 2024, as 68 CEOs were appointed and 52 CEOs departed the role, the highest Q1 totals since 2018 and 2020 respectively.

As we move forward, boards will need to double down on their succession planning, focusing not just on the CEO role but their entire C-suite.

 

 

02

Of the 68 CEOs appointed in Q1 2024, only five were women. At the current pace of change, it’s estimated to take 88 years to achieve global gender parity.

To achieve true gender balance at the top, we need to create systemic changes to how succession is planned, managed, and executed. The scope of CEO candidacy needs to be widened and organizations need to take the preparation of women for CEO roles far more seriously—investing more in their women leaders, increasing pipelines, and addressing bias.

 

 

03

Failed CEO appointments (those lasting less than two years) accounted for 15.1% of outgoing CEOs. This is up from an average of 9.6% since 2019.

This suggests that in challenging macroeconomic environments, boards are prepared to move quickly to remove underperforming CEOs. That said, even the most efficient new CEOs this quarter will find themselves still trying to put together a high-performing senior leadership team well into 2025—a factor that will hamper their ability to deliver. Boards must reframe their expectations of an incoming CEO’s ability to perform in the short term.

 

 

04

Women CEOs are more than twice as likely (24.1%) to leave their roles within two years of appointment, and are four times more likely to last less than 12 months in the CEO role than men.

Boards cannot ignore their accountability for a new CEO’s success, and many are clearly not doing enough to set women candidates up to succeed.

What is CEO turnover?

CEO turnover refers to the rate at which CEOs depart and are hired from their roles. It can be a helpful indicator of wider trends, including economic health and businesses’ risk appetites.

How has CEO turnover changed?

CEO turnover has increased since 2018, hitting a five-year high in 2022, when 189 CEOs were appointed globally. CEO turnover remained high in 2023, with 180 CEO appointments globally.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

Why is CEO turnover so high?

High CEO turnover is reflective of companies’ growing risk appetites and search for leaders who can navigate increasing complexity in the macro business environment, including tech transformation, sustainability, geopolitical crises, and social issues.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

How many CEOs were appointed globally in 2023?

There were 180 CEO appointments globally in 2023. This included:

  • 45 CEO appointments in the S&P 500.
  • 24 CEO appointments in ASX 200.
  • 16 CEO appointments in the FTSE 100.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

How many CEOs stepped down in 2023?

There were 178 CEO departures globally in 2023. This included:

  • 48 CEO departures in the S&P 500.
  • 20 CEO departures in ASX 200.
  • 13 CEO departures in the FTSE 100.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

What proportion of CEOs were women in 2023?

Women remain largely underrepresented in the CEO role across the world. In 2023, women accounted for 22 of CEO appointments globally (12% of all appointments), compared to 156 for men. However, there are regional nuances. In 2023:

  • 6 women CEOs were appointed in the S&P 500, representing 13% of CEO appointments.
  • 6 women CEOs were appointed in the ASX 200, representing 25% of CEO appointments.
  • 3 women CEOs were appointed in the FTSE 100, representing 19% of CEO appointments.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

What proportion of CEOs were first-time CEOs?

In 2023, 88% of 180 CEO appointments were first-time CEOs, who had never held a CEO role at a public-listed company.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

What’s the average tenure of CEOs?

In 2023, the average tenure of CEOs was 8.1 years. However, there are some interesting nuances.

Internal vs. external hires. Internal CEO hires had longer tenures than external CEO hires. On average, internal CEOs’ tenures were 1.4 years longer than external CEO hires.

Men vs. women. Women CEO tenures had shorter than men’s. On average, women lasted 5.0 years in the CEO role globally, compared to 8.0 years for men. There is significant variation across the globe. Only in the NSE Nifty 50 do women CEOs stay in the role longer than men.

  • CAC 40: -7.7 years
  • S&P 500: -3.9 years
  • NSE Nifty 50: +1.5 years
  • FTSE 100: -1.0 years

First-time CEOs vs. seasoned CEOs. First-time public company CEOs’ tenures were 2.1-years longer than those who had previous CEO experience.

Source: CEO Turnover Index, Russell Reynolds Associates (2024)

Global board & CEO advisory leaders

 

With more than 120 years of combined experience in executive search, our board and CEO advisory leaders ensure we bring the full power of our one-firm approach to your greatest leadership challenges. That means we bring together the right team to meet your organization’s needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Global CFO Turnover Index

Find out how many listed company Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are leaving and starting their posts each quarter globally.