Management Turnover as Change Agent

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unemployment Soars as Executive Turnover Slows

Rex Nutting of MarketWatch reported today that according to a survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas November layoffs were up 148% compared with a year earlier.  This dramatic number contrasts sharply with Liberum’s latest report on executive turnover numbers for November 2008.  Liberum found that executive turnover actually declined in November when compared with the same time frame in 2007.  CEO changes declined 32%, CFO changes declined 46%, all C-level changes (from board of directors down to VP level) declined 39% and board of director changes declined 39%.    

As corporations continue major layoffs of mid-managers and blue collar workers most executives running public corporations have so far managed to keep their positions of authority.  Liberum expects the surprising divergence in executive turnovers from what has been happening to general workers employed by corporations to shift as we move into the winter and spring months.  As the recession takes a greater bite out of the economy, shareholders and even corporate boards can be expected to rachet up the pressure on executives to improve their performance and that of their companies or face the loss of their jobs. We anticipate the level of executive turnovers will begin to increase in February.  

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