News & Resources

CEO transitions may increase risk for public companies

Nov 17, 2011 Walt Wojoiechowski

Risk management is a complex and multi-faceted area of study. While experts have paced greater stress on controlling risk in the wake of the recent economic downturn, there are some natural business processes that may be unavoidably risky. A new study from FTI Consulting shows CEO transitions can be particularly risky to enterprise value, as investors tend to sell their shares during these periods instead of buy. The analysis points out the role of chief executives in forging shareholder confidence and maintaining risk. Additionally, the study found the six-month window after a new CEO takes office is critical in managing investor expectations and defining the trajectory of the company. "When a company has a change in leadership of its chief executive, a primary concern of the board of directors is the reaction of the stock market at the time of the event," said Ed Reilly, chief executive of the Strategic Communications practice at FTI Consulting. "What companies tend to overlook is that the real inflection point and the measure of a successful transition comes after six months." Other factors such as product development, market conditions and growth projections need to be analyzed for risk during CEO transitions.