Skip to main content
Global (EN)
Global (EN)中文FrancaisعربيDeutsch日本語



CEO exits among Russell3000 companies in the "normal course" of business average just north of 21% on a rolling 2-year basis.

But CEO exits skyrocket when an activist gets involved.

According to a new study by Strategic Governance Advisors (SGA), a subsidiary of FGS Global,  when activist investors obtained board seats at R3000 companies, the rate of CEO change over the subsequent two years more than doubled. 

It has become rare for an activist to explicitly campaign on a platform of CEO change. But the data suggest that once on the board, activists take a more direct approach to achieving that end.

In 2021, post-activism CEO turnover reached a high of 56%. And even when the activist does not win board seats, the CEO turnover rate often increases by more than 50%, to a rate in the low- to mid-30’s on a two-year rolling basis. 

  • Among the most prolific activists, more than one-third of the 34 companies at which Starboard launched campaigns experienced CEO change within two years. With ElliottLand & Buildings and Carl Icahn, near-term CEO-exit rates were also much higher than baseline.

  • Among the most aggressive activists with at least five campaigns in the sample, rates of near-term CEO change ranged from 42% for Elliott to as high as 75% of the companies targeted by Engaged Capital.

  • Even among the 201 "one-time" activists in the sample, 30% of the companies targeted had CEO turnover within 2 years.

Shareholder activism - even if "unsuccessful," but particularly when it results in an activist gaining board seats - can have significant implications for a company's leadership. Boards need to consider these implications in communicating to investors and developing a strategy for responding to activism.

By the Numbers

Prepare For Ransomware

In the wake of LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail, companies from all sectors are concerned with the increasingly aggressive and sophisticated threat of cyberattacks.  

FGS Global’s UK Crisis Communications Practice has thought through some best practices for companies assessing their cyber preparedness:

  • Ransomware attacks are about people. Navigating a cyber incident requires strong and effective leadership.  With the power to damage an organization’s reputation with key audiences, companies must put the people who matter most (customers, employees, investors or partners) at the heart of its communications approach. 

  • Establish a policy on ransoms. Boards should get ahead of the issue by establishing a clear policy as part of their crisis and risk planning. This will help inform a company’s strategy and approach from the outset and can save valuable time in a crisis.

  • Always have backups. A strong IT infrastructure and capability is critical to managing a cyber-attack. Availability and quality of backups in particular will determine how quickly a company can regain access to data and restore its systems.

  • Make sure you are covered. Insurance is available to help companies recover from a cyber incident – but coverage needs to be paired with robust cyber hygiene and education to promote overall cyber resilience. 

  • The key to effective communications is preparation. Timely communications driven by informed and decisive leadership and institutional preparedness are key to an effective response to any breach. Companies need to establish a highly integrated cross-functional team and have a response protocol including a cyber communications plan.


For more information, watch the webinar here

Handle With Care

The fallout from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB)--including concernsits problems were shared by or could spread to other financial institutions—continue to dominate the discourse and impact policy decisionmaking. For now, measures the Federal Reserve and Treasury announced last week appear to have stabilized the situation. 

In general, Democrats primarily blame SVB leadership and regulatory rollbacks during the Trump administration for the collapse while Republicans point to President Biden’s inflationary fiscal policies. While many Democrats have called for revising existing laws and stronger regulations, most Republicans maintain that it is too soon to act. 

Still, Congress has already scheduled the first of what promises to be several rounds of hearings examining all aspects of the crisis, while the Fed is working through its own review of supervision and regulation of SVB, with its findings slated for release in May.

Due to the weaknesses SVB’s collapse exposed in the entire financial system, Fed officials have found themselves forced to simultaneously fight two problems: financial instability and inflation amid evidence that the Fed’s actions to hike interest rates have affected the broader economy. 

The Fed attempted to straddle this divide by approving another quarter-percentage-point interest rate increase but signaled continuing instability could end its rate-rise campaign sooner than anticipated.

March 28, 2023
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
Want to see more of this in your inbox?