The most secure job in America: CEO

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Millions of people have lost their jobs this year. But not many CEOs. From the management-change trackers at Liberum Research:

Executive turnover numbers for August 2009 have remained very slow when compared with the same numbers in August 2008. When the numbers are examined from a quarterly or half yearly perspective the totals are even more stark.

August 2009 CEO turnover declined 39%, CFO turnover declined 40%, C-level (defined by Liberum as board of director all the way down to VP level) turnover declined 38% and board of director changes declined 47% when compared with the totals registered for August 2008.  The percentage declines were even larger when compared with August 2007.

The first half of 2009 saw a decline in CEO turnover by 35%, a decline in CFO turnover by 42% and a decline in C-level turnover of 36% when compared with the same half year period in 2008.  The numbers were just as low for the second quarter figures.

This makes a certain amount of sense. It’s been a batten-down-the-hatches kind of year, and you don’t throw out the captain in the middle of a storm. (They did relieve Captain Queeg of duty in the middle of a typhoon. But he’s fictional, right?)

Anyway, the people at Liberum think we’ll start seeing more high-level turnover as the economy improves and boards of directors start paying less attention to survival and more to relative performance. We’ll see.