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2021 Q1 CEO Transitions

June 2021

Spencer Stuart tracks CEO transitions among S&P 500 companies on a quarterly and annual basis. For the purposes of this analysis, a CEO transition is defined as the replacement of an outgoing CEO with a permanent CEO. The data set includes: names of incoming and outgoing CEOs; the reason for the departure of the former CEO, as reported by the company; the estimated ages of both the outgoing and incoming CEOs; and whether the new CEO was promoted from within or hired externally.

During the first quarter of 2021, 22 S&P 500 companies reported the appointment of a new CEO, only one transition fewer than the record high pace of CEO transitions in the first quarter of 2020.

  • Sixteen of the outgoing CEOs retired or stepped down. Three CEOs resigned due to health reasons and two were ousted. One CEO role was eliminated due to M&A.
  • Seventeen of the new CEOs were promoted from within their companies, including 14 who were elevated as part of a planned succession.
  • Three of the 22 incoming CEOs are women, and all 22 outgoing CEOs are men.
  • Only one of the CEOs was simultaneously named chair of the board upon appointment.

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