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CEO appointments reach record highs

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CEO appointments are at record highs, surpassing pre-pandemic highs according to Heidrick & Struggles’ latest Route to the Top report. Vice Presidents Jeff Sanders and Bonnie Gwin share the latest information the firm has gathered. Steven John & Associates founder Steve John then takes a look at the current state of the research industry.

November 22, 2021 – Companies in the first half of 2021 appointed a record number of CEOs, offsetting a significant slowdown in the second half of 2020, according to the “2021 Route to the Top” report by Heidrick & Struggles. The Global Intelligence Survey shows that compared to their predecessors, new CEOs are more likely to be female (11%), to be from a country other than the country of the company headquarters ( 30%) and have cross-border experience (46%). “The appointments in early 2021 provide a first glimpse of the CEOs who will lead in a post-pandemic era,” said Jeff Sanders, vice president of the research firm and co-chief executive of his global CEO and advisory firm. ‘administration. “The most senior position, like so many others, has been altered by the rapid changes that have taken place over the past 18 months.”

“We are seeing companies starting to look beyond the traditional ranks of CFOs and COOs when looking for their next CEO,” he said. “In fact, we’ve seen the proportion of new CEOs who have held other leadership roles more than double in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year, revealing that boards of directors and organizations have a broader view of their CEO. succession planning. “


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The Annual CEO Investment Study provides an analysis of the profiles of the 1,095 CEOs of the largest publicly traded companies in 24 markets as of July 5. Data for the report includes companies from Australia and New Zealand, Belgium, Brazil, Canada and China. , Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States For the premiere times, the report also analyzed the race and ethnicity of Fortune 100 CEOs in the United States and found: four percent are Asian, four percent are Hispanic / Latinx, three percent are black, and one percent are from the Middle East or North Africa.

Additional findings from the Global Route to the Top 2021 report include:

  • Almost a third of CEOs with previous C-Suite experience appointed around the world in the first half of 2021 (32%) came from a role other than CEO, CFO or COO.
  • Progress towards gender equity surged after last year’s hiatus.
  • Sixty-two percent of appointments were internal in the first half of 2021, compared to 53 percent of appointments during the same period in 2020.
  • Overall, the profile of CEOs in 2021 shows this.

“As the global business environment continues to evolve towards a greater stakeholder vision, a change is also happening for the CEO,” said Bonnie Gwin, vice president and co-general manager of the practice. Global CEO and Board of Directors, Heidrick & Struggles. “CEOs are quickly becoming the standard bearers on a wide range of issues ranging from cybersecurity, sustainability, social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion, to employee inspiration and rapid navigation. in digital and societal transformation. These changes require a new CEO profile that brings a wide range of different life and business experiences to the role. “

CEO appointments keep recruiters busy

Steve John is the founder and senior research consultant of Steven John & Associates LLC. He started his firm to serve organizations in need of legal experts. He brings a wealth of experience in recruiting lawyers in a wide range of disciplines. This experience reflects a wide range of industries and includes both private and public companies as well as academic and non-profit institutions.

In addition to his general attorney research practice, Mr. John has developed expertise in recruiting attorneys in the areas of real estate, intellectual property, higher education law, social justice. and regulatory compliance in a number of highly regulated industries.

Mr. John recently spoke with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the current state of the executive search industry and the types of leaders most in demand. Here are excerpts from that discussion.

Steve john

Steve, with the business climate returning to normal, what types of leaders are best suited to guide large companies?

Despite our sincere hopes of returning to normal in a post-vaccine world, the global business climate is not returning to what we remember from our pre-pandemic lives. Organizations of all types are struggling to keep control of the evolution of the pandemic. Confusing messages from public health officials, political maneuvering and social unrest continue to muddy the waters of a full return to normalcy. Adding to the challenges of navigating uncertainty is the reality of increased public scrutiny of decision-making in businesses of all types. Customers, employees and investors are keenly aware of the challenges institutions face in stabilizing their operations. In this climate of continued uncertainty, the most successful leaders will be those who can clearly articulate a vision that will inspire various constituencies. They are bold, creative and empathetic people, committed to transparency and a high standard of ethical conduct in their public and private lives. Gone are the days when power alone isolated even the most revered captains of industry. Escapements, in the form of strategic mistakes, rude public behavior, and even criminal activity, are quickly emerging across social media and the 24/7 news cycle. Today, no leader can escape scrutiny, and no one is immune to the consequences of their behavior.

What skills are most in demand today?

Communication, communication, communication! The most effective leaders are adept at distilling complex information and delivering their message in a way that both informs and inspires those they lead, no matter how hard the message may be to hear. Great communicators can take on the challenge of translating data and information on strategic initiatives to a diverse assortment of stakeholders. They are also adept at navigating various types of media, from internal email to social media platforms.

What else?

The leader of today must be hyper aware of himself. Armed with the knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, influential leaders focus on their core strengths and delegate things to others that are not in their wheelhouse. The ability to focus on strengths and delegate the rest to others requires trust and the ability to trust those around them. It means giving up the details, leaving the operational details to the subject matter experts. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, those who cannot or do not want to rise to the occasion will hold back innovation and growth. To be successful in today’s rapidly changing business landscape, a leader must be an intellectually curious lifelong learner. They embrace and are inspired by change.

“The most effective leaders are adept at distilling complex information and delivering their message in a way that both informs and inspires those they lead, no matter how hard the message may be to hear. “

What are the main challenges facing leaders today?

Growing concerns over the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus are shaking up plans to get people back to offices. Lagging vaccination rates coupled with rising infection rates can prevent children from returning to school for a second year. Employees are increasingly frustrated with leaders who don’t seem to hear their concerns about their safety at work or the challenges they continue to face at home balancing work and family responsibilities. Anyone leading a team today will have to deal with these frustrations head-on or risk the kind of turmoil and employee turnover that could cripple even the best-designed plans to mitigate the business and operational risks inherent in running a business. during a global pandemic.

What does all of this mean for hiring?

Beyond the immediate need to develop a return-to-office strategy, leaders around the world are grappling with the challenges of hiring and retaining people who are much more quality-focused than ever before. of life. We are in the midst of a sea change in the job market as employees at all levels take stock of their career and life choices. Reports of massive resignations embolden them and assert themselves in unprecedented ways. Our executive clients report that employee activism increased dramatically in 2021, frustrating plans to return to traditional in-person work models.

Related: Major Paradigm Shifts Resulting From The Coronavirus Crisis

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, editor-in-chief; and Stephen Sawicki, Editor-in-Chief – Hunt Scanlon Media


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