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General counsel vulnerability when CEO changes, and some data on CEO departure rates

Some data from Booz & Company, in strat.+bus, Summer 2011 at 43, gives more insight into the frequency of the tumultuous period for a general counsel when the boss changes. A column graph shows that in 2010 CEO turnover in the U.S. and Canada hit about 12 percent. Of that figure, about 6 percent was planned, around 2.5 percent was from dismissal, and about 3.5 percent was due to the acquisition of a company.

Even for planned retirements of the CEO, the general counsel has some nail-biting while the new CEO comes aboard and scrutinizes the senior leadership team. Dismissals of the CEO create even more anxiety and when a new company takes over, at least one general counsel usually leaves (See my post of May 14, 2005: CEO leaves; in 2004, March 28, 2006: CEO of PPG reorganized business structure; Aug. 2, 2006 #1: CEO turnover was about 11.7% in US; June 20, 2007: turnover of GCs when new CEO arrives leaves; and Nov. 7, 2007: GC depends on fortunes of CEO.).

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