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back to index backAMERItalk November,  2005


CEO Search: talent shortage forces firms to hire industry outsiders

The shrinking CEO talent pool is forcing companies to look outside their industry for top candidates, reports Wallace Immen in The Globe and Mail.

In many searches today, boards are looking for people with fresh approaches,” notes J. Robert Swidler, a Montreal-based partner with Egon Zehnder International.

The CEO search is now a long, global process and the qualification list for CEOs is growing, adds Tom Long, also a partner with Egon Zehnder International. These requirements now include the soft skills to inspire strong teamwork and a record of successfully managing changes and challenges, explains Long.

The search process is also growing tougher due to rising CEO churn, writes the author. Statistics reveal that U.S. CEO turnover now averages 112 per month, with the year-end total expected to exceed 1,300.

The average tenure for an outgoing CEO has also fallen from 12 years in the mid 1990s to around 5.9 years, meaning that CEOs often lack the time to groom a successor internally. Attracting a leader depends on the opportunities that a company has to offer, not just compensation, explains Swidler. But top candidates often use their strong position to negotiate generous pay packages, he adds.

Aspiring CEOs need a history of leadership success, strong team-building skills and global experience. They also need to show passion for the new role, concludes the author.

Source: Egon Zehnder International - GAI


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