Equilar CEO Tracker: Q1 2021 Update

April 30, 2021

Owen Gilles & Brielle Ferdinand


Key Findings:

  1. 15 announced CEO departures in Q1 2021 versus 70 in all of 2020

  2. No appointed CEOs in 2021 so far are women versus 15% in all of 2020

  3. 25% of appointed CEOs in 2021 so far are external hires versus 23% in all of 2020

Equilar 500 companies have announced 15 CEO departures through the first quarter of 2021. This compares to a total of 70 announced CEO departures in all of 2020. Seven of the 15 CEOs departed by the end of the first quarter with eight others expected to leave later this year.

The average CEO lifetime pay for all 15 departing CEOs is $123.6 million with a median of $125.4 million. David N. Farr (Emerson Electric Co.), whose tenure surpassed 20 years, earned the highest total CEO lifetime pay at $262.8 million. Dennis Polk (Synnex Corp), with a tenure of more than three years , had the lowest CEO pay at $15.3 million.

Through the first quarter of 2021, two female CEOs announced their departures: Margaret Keane (Synchrony Financial) and Mary Dillon (Ulta Beauty, Inc.). No women were appointed CEO in the first quarter of 2021. Overall, women appointed as CEOs in the Equilar 500 increased from 12% in 2019 to 15% in 2020.

Overall, external appointments decreased from 33% in 2019 to 23% in 2020. For all announced appointments through Q1 2020, 25% of CEOs appointed have been external hires.


Company Name Ticker Name Effective Date Gender CEO Tenure1 CEO Lifetime Pay2

1Calculated as the earlier of the effective date or March 31, 2021
2Compensation data collected since 2006


Company Name Ticker Successor Successor Gender Internal Successor Previous Role

1Interim Chief Executive Officer


Owen Gilles,

Senior Research Analyst at Equilar, co-authored this post.

Brielle Ferdinand,

Senior Research Analyst at Equilar, co-authored this post.

Please contact Amit Batish, Manager, Content & Communications, at abatish@equilar.com for more information on Equilar research and data analysis.


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