Chief financial officers are the most likely members of U.S. C-suites to leave their jobs within five years of starting, whether by resignation, retirement, termination or promotion.
Going by industry, healthcare CFOs are in the middle of the pack with average tenure of 3.0 years.
Hospitality CFOs top the average-tenure list at 3.5 years while advertising and railroad CFOs bring up the rear at just 2.5 years.
The findings are from an analysis of C-suite pay, turnover and “pain points” at more than 2,000 of the biggest companies in the U.S.
The work was conducted by the financial planning firm DataRails.
The analysts found that, in C-suites across all industries, chief technology officers lasted the longest, on average, over a five-year period ending in 2021:
- Chief Technology Officer—4.64 years (average salary $3.8 million)
- Chief Marketing Officer—4.63 years ($2.5 million)
- General Counsel—4.5 years ($2.5 million)
- CEO—3.89 years ($10.4 million)
- CFO—3.51 years ($3.5 million)
The authors comment that, while full records for 2022 are not yet available, an anecdotal analysis of the past year suggests a “similar picture of CFO exodus” is unfolding.
Their look at 2022 also names an average age for CFOs opting to retire out of the workforce: 60 years.
The authors comment on their methodology for the preliminary 2022 analysis. “We analyzed a sample of 87 CFOs who were replaced, retired or were promoted in 2022 based on PR Newswire announcements among our 2,056 companies,” they explain. “This represents only a small sample of the eventual number; in 2023, official figures will trickle into SEC filings, providing complete 2022 data.”
“Nevertheless,” they write, “we see the frenetic pace of CFO replacement set to break records.”
DataRails has posted the report in full for free.