The high turnover of CEOs in the United States affects huge numbers of other executives. At the current rate, almost 50 per cent of the largest American firms will have a new CEO within the next four years. Another 25,000 newly acquired companies will also report to new leaders. If you're a senior team member in a firm with a new chief executive, your career now depends on the views of a person you may not know. What's more, your history of successes may not count for much. "Remember that you are starting over," says the internally appointed CEO of a top-10 United States insurance company. "No matter what your track record was – hey, it's different now."
Anecdotal stories of what happens to executive teams during CEO transitions are hardly comforting. Firings, organisational reshuffles and cancelled strategies result in abrupt and unwelcome career changes for a host of senior managers. If you're faced with a new CEO, three questions probably loom very large in your mind: How worried should I be? What will happen to me if I do get pushed out? If I stay on, what should I do to maximise the chances of prospering with my new boss?
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