Continually identifying the best senior management talent has never been more important, according to talent mapping and pipelining specialist Armstrong Craven.
The departure of Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland after just six years in the job highlights how the tenure of leading bosses is shortening each year. Bolland himself is believed to have insisted upon a five-year succession plan being put in place when he took up the role – leading to the appointment of internal candidate Steve Rowe as his successor. A report published by Armstrong Craven in October last year revealed that the average tenure of a CEO had dropped from 11.3 years in 2002 to 8.1 in 2012.
The research further suggested that 61 per cent of chief executives are planning to leave their posts in the next five years, many with no clear succession plan in place. The report, entitled The Butterfly Effect: CEO Movement and the Chain Reaction, highlighted the wider impact the departure of a CEO has on organisations – both in terms of internal ramifications and the effect on other corporates whose top executives are headhunted. It is estimated that more than £25million was spent across the external moves triggered by the 20 chief executive departures it analysed.
Matthew Mellor, CEO of Armstrong Craven, said: “On the face of it, it looks as if the Marc Bolland succession has been handled in an exemplary way with a five-year succession plan being agreed at the start. They have also seamlessly appointed a strong internal candidate Steve Rowe as the successor but also benchmarked external candidates before making a final decision on Bolland’s replacement. “The research we carried out for our Butterfly Effect report demonstrated that the M&S experience is extremely unusual in the corporate world.
“With the average tenure of CEOs decreasing each year, the need to continually identify today’s and tomorrow’s leaders through a robust process of talent mapping and pipelining has never been greater. “We are finding our services increasingly in demand as organisations look to put in place strategies to ensure they have the best people in business critical roles which, in turn, enables them to effectively manage their risk.”