Even during the crippling global pandemic, while facing unprecedented turmoil and massive uncertainty, many companies have made major changes in their senior leadership ranks. Among the marquee brands that have named new CEOs in the past year are Amazon, Disney, Ford, Harley Davidson, HKEX, Honda, IBM, Intel, LinkedIn, Mastercard, Merck, MGM, Patagonia, UnitedHealth Group, Volkswagen, and Walgreens. The Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, welcomed a new leader as well.
Although 2020 saw less turnover at the top than 2019 overall, according to CEO tracking specialists, hundreds of exits and onboardings occurred at prominent global companies. As always, the organizations involved were under tremendous pressure—from shareholders, employees, customers, and others—to make the right choices.
Unfortunately, many choose poorly. Botched CEO appointments, Thomas Keil and Marianna Zangrillo observe in the Winter 2020 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review, cost companies tens of billions of dollars annually in market value. Short tenures are common, even among “seasoned executives with previously unblemished track records,” they note, observing that research they’ve been conducting indicates that “more than 15% of all CEOs depart within two years.”
“The best-laid plans—especially succession plans—often fall apart when they encounter reality. What is surprising,” they add, “is how shocked and appalled boards are when their CEO choices fail—sometimes repeatedly.” What accounts for the failures in these CEO choices? READ MORE
By Allison Bailey and Grant Freeland
It can be a real challenge to try to fabricate fun, especially in a group workplace setting. I’m not going to claim to have the perfect answer to that, because I do think fun is much like romance: if you try to force it too much, it’s not going to happen. What you can do, though, is set the stage for it.
The specific attributes that leaders of color bring can be the key to unlocking great leadership — for everyone. To better understand the relationship between leadership and identity, the authors talked to 25 leaders of color across the social sector and drew on their client work. Their research identified several noteworthy assets that leaders of color bring to their organizations.
The mission of a CEO used to be fairly straightforward. Set the vision and strategy of your company and make sure the right people are in the right roles. Above all else, grow as fast and as big as you can. But as the world has changed, so have the demands of the CEO job— and the skills needed to succeed in it.