Demand for broad professional knowledge contributing to CEO turnover - ADLI

Demand for broad professional knowledge contributing to CEO turnover

Today's CEO has to have professional knowledge in a wide range of areas.

Today's CEO has to have professional knowledge in a wide range of areas.

The economy may be recovering, but chief executive officers are stepping down, retiring or getting ousted at a faster rate in 2013, compared to recent years, Bloomberg reported.

During the first three quarters of 2013, 43 businesses in the S&P 500 have gotten a new CEO, and this number is expected to pass 2011's high of 49 changes by the end of the year. Bloomberg contributors Jeff Green and Carol Hymowitz write that despite having professional knowledge in one sphere of the company, today's CEOs have to "master a broader range of skills than in the past."

In 2013, executives like Microsoft's Steve Ballmer, George Zimmer of Men's Wearhouse and Wal-Mart's Mike Duke are among the many other corporate leaders that have contributed to executive turnover within the S&P.

Michael Useem, director of the Center for Leadership and Change Management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, told Bloomberg that a digital shift has greatly contributed to the turnover.

"CEOs today have to think about where smartphones and the Internet are going, which no one had to do before," Useem said. "So you need leaders with the intellectual firepower to master new things who can also figure out how to grow huge global organizations."

Even companies that are doing well in this economy are taking action to stay competitive. For example, in October, Apple hired Angela Ahrendts, who was Burberry's CEO for seven years. The Wall Street Journal reported that Burberry's sales "more than tripled" after Ahrendts introduced new designs to account for the fact that the brand's most widely-known pattern had lost appeal due to overexposure.

Apple hopes that Ahrendts' role as retail chief will help the tech company rebuild its position the market, since sales have fallen.

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