Bosses Discreetly Shown the Door

In the past 18 months, 73 bosses from 500 listed groups have left their posts. Most of the time, formally, they resigned. But the reality is sometimes different, especially when an activist shareholder is in the share register.. 03 August 2020 Bosses Discreetly Shown the Door

Laurence Boisseau of Les Echos covers SquareWell’s latest investor-focused Insight – CEO Appointments & Dismissals at the World’s Largest Companies.

In the past 18 months, 73 bosses of 500 large listed groups (100 Americans, 100 British and 284 Europeans) left their posts, according to a study by SquareWell. Two-thirds of them quit on their own, according to the company’s official disclosures, and only 7% were “dismissed” due to poor performance, a scandal or strategic divergence.

Among them, in France, Isabelle Kocher, CEO of Engie, was pushed to the exit, last February, before the end of her mandate. In the United States, Steve Easterbrook, boss of McDonald’s, was fired for an agreed relationship with a staff member (which was against company policy). As for Brigitte Bonnesen, CEO of Swedbank, the reason for her dismissal was linked to a money laundering scandal that involved the Swedish bank.

Laurence Boisseau highlights that SquareWell estimates that the dismissal figure of 7% is largely underestimated and that in reality it is close 30%. In France, there does not seem to have been any case of “forced” resignation. In Switzerland, in the United Kingdom, or in Germany, there were some. Ulrich Spiesshofer’s departure from ABB can be explained by the stock’s poor performance during his tenure. Tidjane Thiam left the head of Credit Suisse in early 2020 after a spy case. Officially, he resigned.

You can access the full article here (in French, subscription required).


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