I would be really interested to know of any evidence around a theory I have been developing. This is whether there is any link between the length of time someone is a CEO or in another ‘top’ role and the likelihood of him or her being forced to leave the position, whether this is a sacking or an ‘agreed’ resignation.
This theory is based purely on some high profile public figures, from Margaret Thatcher to Sir Martin Sorrell to Arsene Wenger, and various people I have known who have been in post a long time (10 years plus) and achieved much (whether you agree with them personally or not), but ultimately been forced out of their post.
Some long-serving bosses clearly choose their own timing and leave on their own terms – Sir Alex Ferguson being an obvious one. But are these the exceptions to the rule? I understand that stats show that the highest ‘casualty rate’ is in the first two years. But if you survive this and are deemed a success, is there any evidence that the longer you are in post, the more likely you are to ultimately leave at the behest and choice of others and not your own? I would be fascinated to find out.