IES Blog

HR must manage retail CEO turnover

Posted on February 13th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

According to a recent Challenger, Gray & Christmas study, 1,178 CEOs left their positions in 2011, HREOnline reports. While this number is down slightly from 2010's 1,234, retail CEOs haven't been a part of the positive change.

"Retail firms are short-cycle businesses," Dave Ulrich, a professor of business at the Ross School of Business at University of Michigan, tells the media outlet. "Retail companies have very clear metrics, are very visible and have few other levers for quick change. So leaders take the brunt."

According to research from Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA), 59 percent of retail companies have changed CEOs in the last five years. What's more, those individuals are 80 percent more likely to leave within the first two years on the job than CEOs in any other industry.

During this period of turnover, it's the job of HR administration to comfort the blow with a succession-planning process, as well as helping the exiting CEO make sense of the situation and manage the transition to a new leader.

That transition may be difficult, according to the RRA study, because companies may be pulling executives from competitors. Of the 18 retail CEOs recruited externally in the five-year sample, 89 percent were plucked from the same subsector of the retail industry.

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