New Research of Chief Executive Officer Leadership Changes in Largest Publicly Traded Retail Companies Found That a Surprising 93% Had No Prior Public CEO Experience

Oct 13, 2010, 07:59 ET from Herbert Mines Associates

NEW YORK, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- New research into the chief executive officer leadership changes in publicly held retail companies over the last 5 years indicates that there were 58 changes at the top in public retail companies, and a surprising 93% of the appointees had no prior public CEO experience.  The research, conducted by Herbert Mines Associates, the leading executive search firm in fashion, retail, e-commerce and consumer packaged goods, included top leadership changes within the largest 104 publicly traded retail companies with revenues greater than $500 million.

Hal Reiter, chairman and CEO of Herbert Mines Associates, states, "The perception from within the retail industry and from the outside looking in is that most external CEO candidates possess prior public CEO experience.  In fact, we found the opposite is true."

Mr. Reiter says, "The wish list of boards of directors almost always includes candidates who have prior public CEO experience.  That is a rarity and only happens in 7% of the cases.  CEO candidates need to have strong financial acumen and, more importantly, should know how to manage all functions that report to them. But the new CEO's learning curve of dealing with the public markets, shareholders and investor relations mostly occurs on the job."

The analysis revealed that 57% of the 58 CEO changes were internal promotions and the remaining 43% were external appointments.  

Among the companies analyzed, 14% of the CEO appointees were women and none of the women executives had prior public company CEO experience.

The survey analyzed CEO changes from 2005 to 2010 within the 104 largest publicly traded retail companies. The analysis excludes grocery retailers.

Herbert Mines Associates (HMA) is a leading executive search firm and one of the largest in the U.S.  HMA specializes in the following sectors:  retail/wholesale, fashion, beauty, consumer products and services, e-commerce, and restaurant/foodservice.  The firm, founded in 1978, conducts searches for all C-Suite positions as well as senior-level positions across all major functional areas and also specializes in corporate board work.  Business Week featured the firm's CEO on its list of the "World's Most Influential Headhunters."  For more information, visit

SOURCE Herbert Mines Associates