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The Butterfly Effect: CEO Movement and the Chain Reaction

Published 19/05/2015 - 3 mins Read

By Armstrong Craven Team

Talent Research Specialists

Quick Summary Press Release

3 mins Read

People intelligence firm Armstrong Craven has published a new white paper on the cost of CEO departures. The paper, illustrating the culture of reactive hiring, provokes debate on how to handle senior moves and their unexpected consequences.

Entitled ‘The Butterfly Effect – CEO movement and the chain reaction’, the author of the paper examines twenty, recent high profile CEO moves. The results show that the majority of replacement CEOs came from the external market, most of these from direct competitors.

55% of CEO hires in Armstrong Craven’s study were external, suggesting internal succession planning is not working effectively. At the next level (CEO minus one), 60% of moves were internal suggesting organisations are more willing to ‘try’ the internal successor in leadership roles that are not at the top.

The author of the paper, Commercial Director at Armstrong Craven, Alison Ettridge commented on the research:

“64% of external CEO hires in our research came from direct competitors. Armstrong Craven estimates the cost to industry of these moves alone is in excess of £14 million, a cost borne in many cases, by the direct competitors of the company from which the CEO has departed. What’s more, the cost of all senior moves that were generated as the result of CEO departures, we estimate to be more than £25 million.”

At the CEO minus two level only 40% of the replacements in Armstrong Craven’s research were from an internal pool. Ettridge commented: “This corroborates what we hear on a daily basis; the leadership pool of three to five years out looks strong. Where the gap remains is the next generation of senior, global leaders.”

CEO tenure is decreasing and whilst this may be reflective of the changing needs of business, a lack of succession practices means a reactive cycle of events is triggered when a CEO departs. The resulting wave of hires, creates the butterfly effect; the theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

The white paper puts forward ideas for changing the reactive hiring culture, and taking a planned approach in order to make significant savings, and reduce negative effects on shareholder investment and return.


Notes to editors

To request a free copy of the whitepaper please get in contact.

About Armstrong Craven

Intelligent people improve performance by creating an intelligent business. At Armstrong Craven we use our people to provide a future business view. Business success isn’t about yesterday, it’s about what you do today to secure the people you’ll need tomorrow. So Armstrong Craven digs deeper, travels further, looks longer, thinks harder – about what people need.

We provide insight, pipelining, search and leadership risk intelligence services to business leaders all over the world. We help organisations to better understand the markets they operate within and the markets they hope to enter. And we provide the people they need to make it work. For more information visit www.armstrongcraven.com

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