17th Annual CEO Succession Study

Australian boards leading the way on CEO succession

Now more than ever, Australian companies are leading the way on planned CEO successions, relative to leading organisations globally.

This leadership has translated into the lowest rate of unplanned departures in the 17 year history of this study.

By end 2016, the most recent intake of Australian CEOs to leading ASX companies is unlike any globally.

The latest new arrivals in leading Australian companies are more likely to be from outside their new organisation, have worked internationally, and have already served as a CEO.

Although Australian boards are leading on planned successions, more attention is needed on diversity.

Based on the latest snapshot of those joining the top job in leading Australian organisations – it takes being a CEO to get hired as a CEO, raising some interesting implications for aspiring leaders who are seeking to break into the CEO cohort, and for boards intent on increasing gender diversity from an already low diversity pool.


Key findings

The overall rate of CEO turnovers, which includes both planned, unplanned and merger related successions observed in 2016, was lower in Australia than it has been since 2011, falling for the third consecutive year from 25.5% to 16.5% between 2013 and 2016.

The most recent results indicate that leading Australian companies are increasingly more likely to look outside for a new CEO hire, with 52% of new CEO hires coming from outside of the organisation at ASX 200 companies in 2016, compared with 18% globally.

Only one female CEO was appointed by an ASX 200 company in 2016. This reflects a reversal to a more positive trend seen in Australia in previous years, however Australia still exceeded the overall global average percentage for female CEO hires.

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Varya Davidson

Partner, Productivity Integrated Solutions Lead, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 4729

Julian Ballard

Director, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 6271 3135

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PwC Australia

General enquiries, PwC Australia

Tel: +61 2 8266 0000

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