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UK saw significant drop in retail CEO appointments last year

A new report has has shown that the number of newly appointed retail chief executives dropped by 54% in the UK in 2021. After analysing retail… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE NEWS

UK saw significant drop in retail CEO appointments last year

A new report has has shown that the number of newly appointed retail chief executives dropped by 54% in the UK in 2021.

After analysing retail companies with annual revenues in excess of £50 million, the study by Korn Ferry found that only 18 of those hired chief executives last year. This compares to 33 appointments in 2020, which was an historically low number versus previous years.

Sarah Lim, Korn Ferry managing director, retail board and chief executive services, EMEA, said: “In the first half of 2021 we saw very low retail CEO turnover. Interestingly, there was a significant shift in the second half of the year, when we saw a dramatic increase in the volume of new CEO recruitment. Many of the organisations that commenced new CEO searches in the latter part of last year have yet to announce these new CEOs, so we expect to see an increase in the number of CEOs appointed in 2022.”

The report also reveals that only two ethnic minority chief executives were appointed last year, which was the same number as 2020. In addition, only four female retail chief executives were hired within in the UK retail sector in 2021, which was half the number from the previous year.

Meanwhile, 11 of the 18 of the 2021 new appointees were first-time chief executives, and all except two were internally promoted. Furthermore. all the new chief executives came from within the retail sector. In addition, some 38% of the former chief executives had been in their role for three years or less.

Lim added: “It is interesting to note the short tenure of many of the departing CEOs,” said Lim. “Whilst in some cases this was a result of planned succession or internal promotion, for several others this was indicative of business distress, board dissent or dissatisfaction with leadership.”

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