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Global CFO turnover is on the rise

Companies are less afraid to replace CFOs, survey suggests.
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· less than 3 min read

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You may see more public-company CFOs polishing their LinkedIn profiles these days.

CFO turnover in public companies worldwide has reached its highest level since 2022, according to the Russell Reynolds Global CFO Turnover Index. This quarter, it stood at 4.5%. Eighty-two new CFOs were appointed in Q1 2024 at the public companies listed on the 12 stock indexes Russell Reynolds examined, which include the S&P, the Nikkei 225, the FTSE 100, and the DAX30.

The trend was even more pronounced within the S&P. There, this year’s Q1 CFO turnover reached 5.8%—the highest it’s been since Q1 of 2021, when it was 6.4%.

The findings suggest that organizations are less reluctant to replace CFOs, even amid economic volatility, Russell Reynolds said.

Start of a new trend? CFO turnover worldwide rose steadily for the first three quarters of 2023, Russell Reynolds data shows, rising from 3% in Q4 of 2022 to 4.2% in Q3 of 2023. It dropped to 3.7% in Q4 of 2023—but according to the Russell Reynolds data, since 2019, companies have been less likely to replace CFOs in the last quarter of the year than in the other three. This quarter, global turnover reached 4.5%, continuing the rise seen through most of 2023.

The same trend continues within the S&P, though with somewhat greater intensity. CFO turnover among S&P companies rose from 3.2% in Q4 of 2022 to 5% in Q3 of 2023. It dropped to 4.2% in Q4 of 2023 before rebounding to 5.8% this quarter.

The gender gap remains: Globally, the percentage of women CFOs at large public companies has hovered anywhere from 12% to 30% between 2019 and now, reaching a high of 30% in 2021. Currently, 24% of CFOs on the Russell Reynolds index are women, roughly on par for the time period between Q2 of 2022 and now.

On the S&P, things have been more variable: Since 2019, the percentage of women CFOs has ranged widely, from 5% to 50%, with the high of 50% occurring in Q4 of 2022. This quarter, 34% of CFOs on the S&P are women.

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.