Retail chief executive turnover has reached a seven-year- high, a new study has found.
The Korn Ferry’s eighth annual UK Retail CEO tracker reported a 25% increase since 2018, the report also stated that the industry replaced 55 of its CEOs in 2019, up from 44% a year earlier.
The firm analysed more than 200 retailers and brands operating across the UK and Ireland, whose annual revenues are at least £50m.
More than one in three (38%) of the CEO changes made in the past year saw the former CEO in the position for less than three years, a slight increase from 2018.
Last year, half of the new CEOs had sales or merchandising backgrounds, which fell to one-third in 2019. At the same time, the number of CEO replacements with financial backgrounds rose from 15% to 21%.
Sarah Lim, Korn Ferry’s managing director and sector lead for retail in EMEA said: “The past year saw a perfect storm of challenges for retail, resulting in profit warnings, and worse financial troubles, including a number of high-profile high street names going into administration.”
The report also said there was not much of an increase in the number of female CEOs appointed last year, as 11 female CEOs were appointed compared with 10 in 2018, with the proportion of female representation sitting at 23%.
Last week, Laura Ashley announced that Kwan Cheong Ng will retire as the executive director and chief executive officer of the company on 30 April 2020.
Katharine Poulter, who is currently the chief operating officer of the company, will now succeed Ng as chief executive officer and be appointed as executive director on the board. Her role will take effect from 1 May 2020.