The ‘Great Resignation’ is most often talked out in the context of employees and their re-evaluation of what they want out of the world of work.
But given that burnout is a major cause of this unprecedented resignation, it is no surprise that it is affecting those at the top of organizations – the CEO – and causing them to consider resigning.
During 2020, many companies kept their CEOs as there was a need for stability in order to weather the storm and disruption of COVID-19.
But now in 2021, companies have appointed record numbers of new CEOs, according to research by Heidrick & Struggles.
While only 49 companies appointed new CEOs in the second half of 2020, this rose to 103 in the first half of 2021. This was the highest increase since 2018.
Sanders is also clear that the ‘Great Resignation’ is not going anywhere; “Our belief is that it will only accelerate going into next year as people have delayed their retirements.”
Role of the CEO is changing
Heidrick & Struggles’ research also found that the role of the CEO is evolving.
Companies are keen to have CEOs that have not just come from CFO and COO roles, but also those that come from other C-Suite roles.
12% of all CEOs appointed in the first half of 2021 had previously been risk, strategy or technology chiefs – up 9% from the second half of 2020.
This is in response to the need for CEOs to have a “greater stakeholder view”, according to Sanders.
“CEOs are quickly becoming the standard-bearer for a wide-range of issues from cybersecurity, sustainability, social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion, to inspiring employees and navigating rapid digital and societal transformation,” continued Sanders.
“These changes are requiring a new CEO profile that brings a wide and differing range of experiences in life and business to the role.”