Fail Rate for Newly-Hired Executives

I was chatting with a colleague earlier this week, and he mentioned a statistic that I had to share with you … “40% of executives in a new job failed within eighteen months” (Manchester Partners International, USA).

A little research uncovered an even more amazing statistic published by The Center for Creative Leadership, which says … “35% of executives failed within their first few months.”

"Failing includes being terminated for performance, performing significantly below expectations, or voluntarily resigning from the new position."

These statistics are important because …if you are the #2 or even #3 candidate for a position you really wanted at a company you truly felt was a great fit, and you can live with being the second choice … there just might be another opportunity in the not–to–distant future.

Make it a habit to follow up regularly with decision-makers to see how things are going in their organization. A consistent follow up plan could uncover that next great opportunity.


There was an interesting Finance Quiz in recently. For those who missed it, you can read it here:

For me, and for those of you on a CFO–track, this question should have caught your attention.
3) What percent of today's Fortune 1000 CFOs have neither an MBA nor a CPA?
a. 92 percent
b. 24 percent
c. 10 percent
d. 55 percent

Answer: b. Twenty-four percent of Fortune 1000 CFOs have neither a CPA nor an MBA. In 2003, many more — 41 percent — lacked either qualification.

A–players who want to go to the top need to understand the importance of this statistic. The number of CFOs – who are not credentialed – has dropped considerably in the past three years, and that number will continue to fall.

CPA CFOs are the candidates of the future. According to Spencer Stuart, the number of CFO-CPA’s among Fortune 1,000 companies has almost doubled in the past two years. The trend to recruit CFO’s with more technical accounting backgrounds will probably only continue into the next decade. Not being a CPA will make it increasingly more difficult to compete for top CFO positions.

Take Your Cue from the Top

Want to position yourself to climb the corporate ladder? Establish yourself as an A–Player and then groom the rising stars on your staff to follow in your footsteps!

In a recent article from, the writer says …

<<The executives interviewed in the study avidly practice strategic workforce management. Sophisticated tools for critical HR activities, such as succession planning, 360-degree feedback and talent development, are widespread throughout their companies.>>

Talent management is critically important for companies today. Recruiting is expensive and a wrong hire has a ripple effect throughout the organization. The flip side is losing top talent to a competitor.

For you, as a Senior Finance Executive, effective talent management involves learning each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, setting them up to be successful by leveraging their strengths, and then mentoring them to follow you up the ladder.

Mentoring others doesn’t always come easily to analytically–oriented Finance Executives. The ability to effectively identify, groom, and promote top talent can become part of your unique value proposition as you set your sights on the top job.

If you are interested in learning more about how you are perceived by those with whom you work, serve, and play, contact me about conducting your own 360–degree assessment.