More CFOs Switch Jobs in Q1

Rise in turnover linked to economic improvement

Turnover among CFOs and other top corporate executives picked up a bit in the first quarter, in another possible sign of life in the employment market. Data from Liberum Research shows that 280 CFO changes in the first quarter, up from 258 in the fourth quarter of last year and 256 in the third quarter.

“For the first time since the Great Recession, turnover has started to pop up,” says Richard Jacovitz, director of research at Liberum. “The same thing is happening with CEOs, and the same thing is happening, not quite to the same degree, with C-level changes. I do think there’s a change taking place.”

Liberum’s numbers, which track new hires, promotions and departures at all publicly traded companies in North America, show CFO turnover peaked in 2007 at 2,329 and since then has declined steadily, to 1,083 in 2010.

Jacovitz links the rise in turnover to the improvement in the economy.

During the recession, boards were reluctant to make changes, he says. “Unless there was the need for a really major strategic change, they stuck with the captains they had in place as a general rule,” Jacovitz says. “That trend is beginning to change. There’s pent-up demand, executives who may be unhappy where they are and hoping to go somewhere else, and a recognition by boards that they can make changes.”

There’s more on the Liberum turnover data here.

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