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More CFOs Are Departing

Finance chiefs at some of the nation’s biggest companies are leaving their jobs in a wave that recruiters expect to continue through the end of 2022, The Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

What’s going on: “September, for instance, saw the highest number of monthly departures at companies in the S&P 500 since the beginning of the year, accounting for roughly 20% of the 71 CFO exits through the third quarter, according to Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm. This compares with 8% in September 2021 and 11% in the same month in 2020, Russell Reynolds said.”

Why: Economists have predicted a recession in the coming months, and it “is pushing some executives to make a move now before the labor market changes, recruiters said.”

  • It’s also causing some businesses to seek out CFOs with experience in cost cutting and balance-sheet refinancing.

The retirement factor: As has happened in other roles across industries since the pandemic began, CFOs are retiring in greater numbers than in years past, too.

  • “‘Once CFOs had gotten through the first significant tranche of the pandemic, there were a lot of people who just said, “You know what, I’ve hit my number; this job isn’t fun anymore,” [Russell Reynolds senior partner Jenna] Fisher said. ‘And that has continued.’”
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