Less than 3% of the 2015 incoming class of CEOs were women
In 2015, 17% of the largest 2,500 public companies in the world changed their CEO, according to PwC’s Strategy&
CEO turnover reaches a record high globally, with more companies planning for new chiefs from outside the company.
In 2015, 17% of the largest 2,500 public companies in the world changed their CEO, more than in any of the previous 16 years of the CEO Success Study from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business. The study, however, has shown that the share of incoming women CEOs fell to less than 3%.
It is worth noting that over the past several years more big companies have been deliberately choosing their new CEO from outside of the company as part of a planned succession, an indication that hiring an outsider has become more of an intentional leadership choice than a necessity. According to the study: - Outsiders accounted for 22% of all CEOs brought in via a planned succession between 2012-2015, up from 14% in 2004-2007;
- Almost three-quarters of all outsider CEOs were brought in during planned successions during that same period, up from 43% in 2004-2007.
The majority of companies have continued to promote insiders to the CEO position and the study authors think this will remain the preferred succession-planning practice (77% insiders vs. 23% outsiders in 2015). Outsider CEOs have caught up and closed a performance gap that the study previously found between outsider and insider CEOs, possibly strengthening the case for considering a new leader from outside the company.
Globally, the share of incoming women CEOs fell to less than 3% in 2015, the lowest percentage since 2011. Just ten of 359 incoming CEOs in the class of 2015 were women. Female CEOs are more often hired from outside the company than male CEOs. About 32% of all incoming and outgoing female CEOs from 2004-2015 were outsiders compared to just 23% of males CEOs.
Some of the industries that have been experiencing the most disruption are also the ones that have brought in higher-thanaverage shares of outsiders over the last several years. This includes telecoms (38% of incoming CEOs from 2012-2015 were outsiders), utilities (32%), healthcare (29%), and energy (28%);
On the other hand, IT (15%), materials (19%), retail and consumer (19%), and industrials (21%) hired the lowest share of outsiders from 2012-2015;
From a regional perspective, from 20122015, companies headquartered in Western Europe hired outsider CEOs almost twice as frequently as companies headquartered in U.S./Canada (30% vs. 18%, respectively).