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 / Summer 2010 / Issue 59(originally published by Booz & Company)


CEO Succession 2000-2009: A Decade of Convergence and Compression

Chief Executives Who Participated

George Barrett
Chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health Inc.:
a company focused on improving the cost effectiveness of health care, based in Ohio
Luiz Carlos Trabuco Cappi
CEO, Banco Bradesco SA:
one of Brazil’s largest private banks
José Antonio do Prado Fay
CEO, BRF Brasil Foods SA:
one of the biggest foodstuffs companies in Latin America, based in Sao Paulo
José Antônio Guaraldi Félix
CEO, Net Serviços de Comunicação SA:
Latin America’s largest multiservice cable company, based in Sao Paulo
Neil M. Kurtz
M.D., President and CEO, Golden Living:
a leading provider of health-care services, with headquarters in Arkansas
Jan Lång
President and CEO, the Ahlstrom Corporation:
a Finnish manufacturer of high-performance specialty papers and fiber composites for industrial applications
Matti Lievonen
President and CEO, Neste Oil Oyj:
a refining and marketing company focused on advanced, low-emission traffic fuels, based in Finland

Ian Livingston
Executive Director and Chief Executive, BT Group PLC:
one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services, based in London

Roberto Medeiros
CEO and Chief Human Resources Officer, Redecard SA:
a leading merchant-acquiring and payment-processing company in Brazil
Doug Oberhelman
Vice Chairman and CEO-elect, Caterpillar Inc.:
the world’s largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines, with headquarters in Illinois
Reinoldo Poernbacher
CEO, Klabin SA:
the biggest paper producer, exporter, and recycler in Brazil
Severin Schwan
CEO, Roche Group:
a research-focused health-care company specializing in pharmaceutical and diagnostic products, based in Switzerland
Gregory D. Wasson
President and CEO, Walgreen Company:
the leading drugstore chain in the United States, based in Illinois
Kenichi Watanabe
President and CEO, Nomura Holdings Inc.:
a top-tier global investment bank, based in Tokyo


This study identified the world’s 2,500 largest public companies, defined by their market capitalization (from Bloomberg) on January 1, 2009. Our research team members — based in India, China, Romania, Chile, and the United States — then identified the companies among the top 2,500 that had experienced a chief executive succession event and cross-checked data using a wide variety of printed and electronic multi-language sources. For a listing of companies that had been acquired or merged in 2009, we also used Bloomberg.

Each company that appeared to have changed its CEO was investigated for confirmation that a change occurred in 2009, and then demographic and leadership details — age, tenure, title, career path, prior experience, education, chairmanship, and so on — were sought on both the outgoing and incoming chief executives (as well as any interim chief executives).

Company-provided information was acceptable for most data elements except the reason for the succession. Outside press reports and other independent sources were used to confirm the reason for an executive’s departure. Finally, Booz & Company staff worldwide separately validated each succession event as part of the effort to learn the reason for specific CEO changes in their regions.

Total shareholder return data for a CEO’s tenure was sourced from Bloomberg and includes reinvestment of dividends (if any). Total shareholder return data was then regionally market-adjusted (measured as the difference between the company’s return and the return of the local regional index over the same time period) and annualized.

Reprint No. 10208

Author Profiles:

  • Ken Favaro is a senior partner with Booz & Company based in New York. He leads the firm’s work in enterprise strategy and finance.
  • Per-Ola Karlsson is a senior partner with Booz & Company based in Stockholm. He leads the firm’s European organization, change, and leadership practice.
  • Gary L. Neilson  is a senior partner with Booz & Company based in Chicago. He focuses on assisting clients to address their operating models and guiding organizational transformations.
  • Also contributing to this article were Booz & Company Senior Partners Jon Katzenbach and Ivan de Souza; Booz & Company Partners Roman Friedrich, Jan Miecznikowski, Greg Rotz, and Muir Sanderson; Booz & Company Principal Takeshi Fukushima; Booz & Company Senior Associate Richard Sanderson; and consulting editor Tara A. Owen.
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  1. Corporate Leadership Council, “Creating Talent Champions, Volume I” (2008) and “Hallmarks of Leadership Success” (2003), Corporate Executive Board: The source of research on leadership development.
  2. Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson, Jon Katzenbach, and Gary Neilson, “Lessons from the Trenches for New CEOs: Separating Myths from Game Changers” (PDF) (Booz & Company, 2010): The practices that will substantially contribute to success for new CEOs.
  3. Per-Ola Karlsson and Gary Neilson, “CEO Succession 2008: Stability in the Storm,” s+b, Summer 2009: Last year’s study documented how the financial crisis had held down the rate of CEO turnover, except in hard-hit industries like financial services and energy.
  4. For more thought leadership on this topic, see the s+b website at:  
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