Global CEO appointments: a very domestic issue

Global CEO appointments: a very domestic issue
Document type
Corporate author(s)
High Pay Centre
High Pay Centre
Date of publication
11 February 2013
Trends: economic, social and technology trends affecting business, Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Business and management
Material type

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This report shows that less than 1% of top chief executives are poached from overseas, and 80% are promoted from within the company, proving that justifications for high pay in the UK due to a highly-paid global talent pool are a 'self-serving myth'.

The report shows that:

  • Only 4 chief executives out of 489 were poached while CEOs of another company in a foreign country – just 0.8% of total appointments.
  • Only one CEO was poached while CEO of another company in another continent.
  • In North America, Japan, Latin America, and Eastern Europe not one CEO was appointed from outside the country where the company is based.
  • 80% of CEO appointments in the world’s largest companies are internal promotions.
  • Just 6.5% (32) of current CEOs were poached from another company while serving as a CEO.

This report argues that the supposed scarcity of talent, and what is claimed to be the highly competitive market for that talent, is principally responsible for pushing up pay to the current levels. Yet the vast majority recruit from within, and only a tiny number of companies look outside their country to find a successor who is in another CEO role.

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