CEO turnover is soaring, women twice as likely to quit

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CEOs are quitting at record rates, and the small share of women at the very top are leaving the fastest.

Global CEO turnover spiked in the first quarter of 2024, with 52 departures and 68 new appointments among companies tracked in global stock. “Failed CEO appointments,” where CEOs lasted less than two years, accounted for 15% of outgoing CEOs in early 2024. However, the turnover rates are significantly worse for women.

Image credit: CNBC

High-powered women are leaving the fastest. About 24% of women CEOs leave their posts within two years, more than twice the 10% of men who do so. Women CEOs are four times as likely as men to leave within a year. These figures are “surprising and disappointing.”

This phenomenon, known as the “glass cliff,” suggests that women and underrepresented groups are promoted to leadership roles during challenging times, setting them up for failure. The first 12 to 24 months are crucial for incoming CEOs to set a new agenda and prove their positive impact. However, recent economic cycles have pressured CEOs.

Women CEOs, in particular, face harsher judgments when things go wrong. Wiggins mentions a client who felt she had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to receive the same support. Senior-level women across the business world are quitting at high rates, facing challenges like microaggressions, promotion gaps, and the responsibility for diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Globally, women make up 32% of corporate boards, but progress is slow. In the U.S., California courts struck down two state laws mandating greater diversity on public company boards. “We can be convinced things aren’t as bad,” Wiggins says, “but we’re not yet doing a better job as a business community to reach gender parity.”

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.

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CEO turnover is soaring, women twice as likely to quit

CEOs are quitting at record rates, and the small share of women at the very top are leaving the fastest.

Global CEO turnover spiked in the first quarter of 2024, with 52 departures and 68 new appointments among companies tracked in global stock. “Failed CEO appointments,” where CEOs lasted less than two years, accounted for 15% of outgoing CEOs in early 2024. However, the turnover rates are significantly worse for women.

Image credit: CNBC

High-powered women are leaving the fastest. About 24% of women CEOs leave their posts within two years, more than twice the 10% of men who do so. Women CEOs are four times as likely as men to leave within a year. These figures are “surprising and disappointing.”

This phenomenon, known as the “glass cliff,” suggests that women and underrepresented groups are promoted to leadership roles during challenging times, setting them up for failure. The first 12 to 24 months are crucial for incoming CEOs to set a new agenda and prove their positive impact. However, recent economic cycles have pressured CEOs.

Women CEOs, in particular, face harsher judgments when things go wrong. Wiggins mentions a client who felt she had to work twice as hard as her male counterparts to receive the same support. Senior-level women across the business world are quitting at high rates, facing challenges like microaggressions, promotion gaps, and the responsibility for diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Globally, women make up 32% of corporate boards, but progress is slow. In the U.S., California courts struck down two state laws mandating greater diversity on public company boards. “We can be convinced things aren’t as bad,” Wiggins says, “but we’re not yet doing a better job as a business community to reach gender parity.”

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.