Study finds CEO departure remains an issue

NEW YORK: The world's largest companies are slowly reining in their rate of CEO turnover, but it is still dangerously high, according to a new survey by Weber Shandwick.

NEW YORK: The world's largest companies are slowly reining in their rate of CEO turnover, but it is still dangerously high, according to a new survey by Weber Shandwick.

In 2006, 15% of the 500 biggest global companies saw a CEO depart, the survey said. That was a slight decline from 17% in 2005.

North American companies saw the greatest decline in CEO turnover, falling from 18% in 2005 to just 10% last year. European turnover rose slightly, to 18% from 15% in 2005, while the Asia Pacific region saw its rate hold steady at about 15%.

Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist for Weber Shandwick, said that every instance of CEO turnover has broad impacts throughout the global economy because of the sheer size of the companies involved.

"Any slight shift affects all of us," she said. "When a Global 500 company sneezes, we all get a cold."

Gaines-Ross said that last year's decline appeared to signal a stabilization of turnover, which she called a positive trend.

"I do think that boards are...taking their jobs more seriously and asking a lot more questions," she said. "I also think that they have a better caliber of CEO in place."

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