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Historic Bull Market Results in Older U.S. CEO’s Who Stay Much Longer

Leadership tenures at large U.S. public companies has been extended by the exceptional longevity of the bull market that followed the Great Recession, according to a new CEO Succession Practices: 2018 Edition report by The Conference Board. That’s resulting in a higher average CEO age.

In 2009, at the peak of the Great Recession, the typical CEO of an S&P 500 held the position for 7.2 years—the shortest average tenure ever reported by The Conference Board. However, CEO tenure started to rebound soon after, rising to 10.8 years by 2015. In 2017, departing CEO tenure was the highest recorded since 2002, at nearly 11 years. Consistent with this evidence, in 2017 the average age of a sitting S&P 500 CEO was 58.3 years, more than two years older than the average CEO in 2009.

“CEO succession planning is among the most challenging tasks required of the board of directors, with important implications on the organization, its employees, and culture,” said The Conference Board’s Matteo Tonello, and a co-author of the report with Jason D. Schloetzer, Professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. “Our findings suggest that a new generational change in the top business leadership may be underway.

A related finding from the research study is the dramatic widening of the gap between CEO exits from better-performing companies and under-performing ones. The succession rate of better-performing companies declined to 6.8% in 2017, the lowest since 2002 and much lower than the average of 9.4% calculated for the entire 2001-2017 period.


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Inside The Story

Read more at The Conference BoardConnect With The Conference Board’s Tonello

About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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