CEO and Executive Directors hiring trends by Anderson Willinger

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According to Anderson Willinger, executive search experts, recruitment of executive roles bringing opportunities for new players as well as the necessary replacements in fields when change has been sporadic or has not occurred for years. In many cases, particularly within corporations, roles accumulate into one position, outside of the Czech Republic.

Overall, recruitment has increased over the pandemic. Specifically, between 2019 and 2020, there was a 19% increase. The difference between 2020 and 2021 is 1%.

Comparing with previous years, the period of pandemic recruitment fluctuated over time. The period with the highest flow in 2021 was the second half, rather than January as seen in past years. This was also the case in January 2022.

In 2021, the number of changes in CEO roles increased by half compared to 2019, especially in E-Commerce, Communication & Advertising and FMCG. Both the number of women in these roles, and the number of foreigners increse. On the other hand, it remains a well-established routine that the number of companies that are ready to receive the benefits of a new CEO entering from another industry is still relatively low. It’s only 25%. Additionally, new CEOs gain their position through promotion, primarily from sales positions rather than through external recruitment.

After CEOs and sales roles, the third most recruited positions are in marketing. The need culminated between October 2020 and October 2021. The scope of responsibilities for these roles changes fundamentally, especially in data management, CRM, and digital communication channel management.

The fourth most frequently played role is HR. The changes raise needs such as a response to the procedural side associated with the pandemic, but also the need to address more critical issues; these include how to motivate, how to gain performance, and how to get employees back to order as quickly as possible. Another interesting aspect of HR roles is the fact that it is the only role dominated by women. The increase in the number of changes in HR roles therefore has a direct effect on the overall increase in the number of women in management.

From the perspective of industries with most frequent management changes, E-commerce places first. A newcomer to the field, with a large share of management changes, is the industry of Advertising and Communication, which reached the 4th position in the number of changes after the recruitment slowdown since 2018. Machinery is the second newcomer, which most often strengthens the roles of CEOs and sales. IT and FMCG are important but stable industries in the top 5 most frequent management changes.

While FMCG is an industry with the largest share of expat executive changes, it is also the industry in which internal promotions occur most often.

As Anderson Willinger, executive search experts, monitore changes in the overall internal promotions and external recruitment positions, it is interesting to see that the pandemic did not affect the overall ratio. On average, companies promote 44% of managers and externally enrich their management by 56%. Of these, 63% come from industries other than direct competition.


What Anderson Willinger, executive search experts, considers in this study to be key observations from the past is a change in mutual expectations between companies and directors.

  • First, it is the difference in perspective or expectations of the companies and directors in the areas of travel flexibility, commuting, and home office. For managers, the idea of leaving the current comfort zone often means less interest in change, because it requires sacrificing more time, less work from home, etc.

  • Secondly, it is an expectation of quick results from a new manager, meaning the recruitment of a so-called “fully prepared person”. The new requirements for the quality of directors are often in areas where managers still lack and have limited experience or knowledge.

  • Third, companies focus much more on personality qualities such as maturity and stability in emotionally tense times, or having a small dose of tolerance in the absence of these qualities. However, this often does not correspond to the ideas of directors who, during the pandemic period, discovered a number of other options applicable to their future careers outside the corporation.

  • Fourth, and most importantly, companies or industries that have been attractive for years are losing their tinsel of attractiveness, and directors prefer to see themselves in more flexible and modern environments. Unfortunately, they forget about their adequate personal development and by applying learned habits from corporations, they often come across a new environment. Therefore, it can be highly probable that this may be one of the reasons for the relatively drastic reduction in the overall average length of time in CEOs and Executive Directors positions.

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