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How do Turbulent Times Impact Leadership Moves?

By Alexandra Garfinkle

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to roil markets, it’s hard not to think about the 2008 financial crisis. BoardEx has taken the opportunity to delve into data this week about what C-suite movements looked like as the Great Recession took shape, and then what CEO shifts looked like as the crisis receded.

In both the United Kingdom and the United States, BoardEx data shows there were a higher number of CEO moves in 2008 after the financial crisis, followed by a decline in those CEO shifts as the markets evened out. In the U.S., for example, the sectors that saw more than 15% CEO turnover between 2008 and 2019 were diversified, retail and tobacco, and the month with the highest number of U.S.-based CEO moves, 123, was January 2009.

US Public Companies

View the full interactive data visualization here.

Meanwhile, in the U.K., the sectors that saw more than 25% annual CEO turnover included automobiles, mining and metals, and tobacco — at the head of the pack was URU Metals Ltd., which saw 13 different CEOs between 2008 and 2019. However, U.K.-based companies posted the highest number of CEO moves, 62, in September 2008, several months before a similar wave would hit the U.S.

UK Public Companies

View the full interactive data visualization here.

In both countries, real estate CEOs were among the most turnover-resistant, as were those in health and pharmaceuticals and transportation. View the full interactive data visualization here.

Follow Alexandra Garfinkle on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Data analysis completed by Alex Architektonidis, follow him on LinkedIn.

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