Évolution des pratiques dans le processus de succession du premier dirigeant

Le Conference Board (CB) a effectué une étude sur les pratiques entourant la succession des premiers dirigeants (CEO) des grandes entreprises américaines. Le rapport met en lumière plusieurs changements significatifs dans le taux de rotation des CEO attribuable en grande partie aux entreprises sous-performantes.

L’étude montre également que les organisations se préoccupent beaucoup plus du processus de succession à la tête de la direction. Les entreprises mettent de plus en plus l’accent sur le rôle joué par le conseil d’administration dans la préparation à la succession. La divulgation des activités reliées à la relève des PDG montre également que la transition s’effectue sur une plus longue période.

Plusieurs conclusions intéressantes ressortent également de cette étude. Voici celles que l’auteur a retenues :

– The stability seen in the succession rate of better-performing companies may indicate that increased scrutiny over executive pay and performance has started to produce results. 

– High rates of CEO turnover are also seen among consumer products companies, another signal that the sector is bracing for new strategic and market changes. 

– Much-talked about, gender diversity continues to be elusive at the helm of the largest US public companies, as only six of the 63 CEO positions that became available in the S&P 500 in 2016 were filled by a woman..

– After years of sharp rise, the succession rate of older CEOs has started to normalize at levels seen before the financial crisis, confirming the completion of a generational shift in business leadership. 

– Departing CEO tenure in 2016 was nine years, but five percent of S&P 500 companies are led by CEOs with tenures of 20 years or longer. 

– One out of 10 CEO successions in 2016 were navigated by an interim CEO, a role once used only in situations of emergencies and unplanned transitions. 

– The immediate appointment of the incoming CEO as board chairman has become a rare exception, as proxy advisors and the investment community increasingly demand independent board leadership 

Je vous invite à lire le bref compte rendu de cette étude publiée par Matteo Tonello sur le site du Harvard Law School Forum.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont appréciés.


CEO Succession Practices: 2017 Edition



According to a new report by The Conference Board, in 2016 CEO exits from underperforming companies have risen to a level unseen in 15 years amid record-high dismissals in the retail sector. In particular, last year the CEO of poorly performing companies had a 40 percent higher probability of being replaced than in 2015 and a 60 percent higher probability of being replaced than the CEOs of better-performing companies. The report, CEO Succession Practices: 2017 Edition, annually documents and analyzes succession events of chief executives of S&P 500 companies. In 2016, there were 63 cases of S&P companies that underwent a CEO turnover.

In 2016, The Conference Board found that poorly performing companies (i.e. those with an industry-adjusted two-year total shareholder return (TSR) in the bottom quartile of the S&P 500 sample) had a record-high CEO succession rate of 17.1 percent, up sharply from the 12.2 percent of 2015. It is the highest rate of turnover seen for this group of companies since 2002 and higher than the 2001-2016 average of 13.9 percent. The major driver of this surge in 2016 is the exceptional number of CEO dismissals in the wholesale and retail trade sector, which—battled by a stronger dollar, weak emerging markets, and the rise to dominance of online one-stop-shop competitors such as Amazon—was widely reported as among the biggest job cutters in recent years. In this business industry, CEO dismissals were 50 percent of the total succession tally for 2016, compared to 14.3 percent in the prior year. Oil and gas extraction companies also experienced a spike in dismissals, with 75 percent of CEO succession cases in 2016 classified by The Conference Board as disciplinary, compared to 25 percent in the prior year.

Another notable finding from the report is that companies are becoming more communicative about their CEO succession plans so as to avoid surprising market participants. Communication practices more commonly include providing earlier notice of the CEO succession event, including the description of the role performed by the board of directors in the CEO succession process, and offering more details on the reasons for the transition. In particular, compared with a year earlier, in 2016 boards were 30 percent less likely to announce that the transition was effective immediately.

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