“FTSE 100 chief executives and football club managers are both in the results business, one group in terms of profits and share prices and the other in terms of points and league positions, but in 2021 it looks like shareholders and boardrooms showed a lot more patience than football club executives and supporters,” says AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould. “Only seven FTSE 100 firms saw a change in chief executive (with four more announcing appointments that will come into effect in 2022), the lowest figure this millennium, while a new manager pitched up at no fewer than 49 of the 92 Premiership and Football League clubs in 2021, with 13 of those 49 getting in a new man (and they were all men) on two occasions.
Source: Company accounts
“There were eight changes at the top overall within the FTSE 100 in 2021, thanks to two changes at Lloyds, where interim boss (and chief financial officer) William Chalmers took the reins on an interim basis in May when Antonio Horta-Osorio left the bank after a decade in charge to take up the chairman’s role at Credit Suisse and then stepped aside in August once Charlie Nunn took the helm.
“That compares to the average of 12 to 13 changes in FTSE 100 CEO since 2000 and the previous low for this millennium of nine new bosses in each of 2010 and 2021. Four more changes in CEO were announced in 2021 but they only become effective in 2022 and in one of those instances – Johnson Matthey – the firm has dropped out of the FTSE index subsequent to the appointment of a new leader.
|Announced and effective in 2021|
|Rio Tinto||Jakob Stausholm||Jean-Sebastian Jacques||01-Jan-21|
|Entain||Jette Nygaard-Andersen||Shay Segev||21-Jan-21|
|Lloyds||William Chalmers (interim)||Antonio Horta-Osorio||01-May-21|
|AVEVA||Peter Herweck||Craig Hayman||01-May-21|
|Smiths Group||Paul Keel||Andy Reynolds-Smith||25-May-21|
|Glencore||Gary Nagle||Ivan Glasenberg||01-Jul-21|
|Lloyds||Charlie Nunn||William Chalmers (interim)||16-Aug-21|
|Barclays||C.S. Venkatakrishnan||Jes Staley||01-Nov-21|
|Announced but only effective in 2022|
|Burberry||Jonathan Akeroyd||Marco Gobbetti||01-Apr-22|
|Anglo American||Duncan Wanblad||Mark Cutifani||19-Apr-22|
|Johnson Matthey||Liam Condon||Robert MacLeod||01-Mar-22|
|Taylor Wimpey||Pete Redfern||TBC|
Source: Company accounts
“In many ways a quiet year in 2021 makes sense in light of the frenzied boardoom activity of 2020, when there were 22 changes of CEO (and another three announced that would come into effect in 2021). That was the highest figure since 2000.
“It also makes sense in that 2021 was perhaps a less challenging year that 2020. Even if it was by no means all plain sailing, 2021 did at least see the global economy start to grow again after the sharp, but deep, recession of 2020 as vaccines began to work, lockdowns were (for the most part) ended and governments and central banks continued to provide monetary and fiscal stimulus respectively. The lowly number of changes in 2010 and 2012 came in the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-09 when new bosses were able to make their mark without having to firefight at the same time.