Ageing CEOs: liability or inevitability?
The average age of a US CEO has risen 4% in the past decade, and because death is unpredictable, succession planning is increasingly important
Southfield, Michigan — The same-day deaths of two ageing CEOs — industry icons in railroading and banking — show why some investors and governance experts want companies to disclose more about succession plans and the health of their executives. CSX Corporation’s Hunter Harrison, 73, died on Saturday, one day after news of his medical leave pushed the railroad’s shares down the most in six years. M&T Bank said Robert Wilmers died "suddenly and unexpectedly" at age 83 — just months after the death of his own heir apparent. These deaths underscore the privacy, governance and legal issues entangled in one fact of shifting demographics: as the US population ages, so too do the chieftains of Corporate America. The average age of a CEO has risen 4% in the past decade and there has been at least one health-related change atop S&P’s 500 index companies in each of the past three years, according to executive recruiter Spencer Stuart. "What we’re facing is the new paradigm of work," said Davi...
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