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NextGen Magazine


New Generation of Younger CEOs Changing Definition of Business as Usual

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jul 9, 2015
What, did you think they'd be working in coffee shops forever? The Wall Street Journal reports that top executives, including CEOs, are increasingly drawn from people in their late 40s and early 50s (the set typically thought of as Generation X) and bringing with them new perspectives on how business is done that stands in marked contrast to their older predecessors. Coming of age in a new business climate where people change jobs regularly, versus the older model where people were loyal to a single company, the Journal says they have tended to place more focus on talent acquisition and retention, which means more emphasis on things workers look for such as work/life balance and job flexibility. The Journal added that younger CEOs also tend to be more comfortable with computers and the Internet. Past this, the Journal said there's also a behavioral difference in that younger CEOs seem to be more willing to take risks and react faster to sudden changes. However, said the Journal, opinion among these new CEOs is split about the significance of this demographic shift. Some, like the new CEO of Harley, agree that the tide is turning as younger people take the lead, while others, like the CEO of Boeing, feel that there's nothing particularly notable about the change. 

Still, it might be worth it for members of the accounting profession to watch these companies with younger CEOs, because whatever changes they introduce will no doubt come to their own industry as well: it's estimated that 75 percent of CPAs will be at or near retirement age by 2020, which will bring a profound demographic shift as younger professionals rush in to fill the leadership void left behind. An article looking at this issue more in-depth is featured in the Society's latest issue of NextGen magazine.