Why these C-suite execs are serving shorter stints

Corporate CFOs' tenures are decreasing. Industry pressures and C-suite tensions could be to blame, according to CNBC

In last year's Global CFO Survey by financial advisory firm FTI Consulting, 48 percent of executives said the average CFO tenure is less than five years. In this year's survey, 59 percent of North American executives in financial roles said the same. 

It used to be common for a CFO to stay at one company for more than a decade, Gina Gutzeit, senior managing director at FTI Consulting and leader of its CFO Solutions practice, told CNBC. But that is no longer the case, with a 2022 analysis from Crist Kolder Associates finding the average CFO tenure to be five years. 

There are several reasons why this could be, according to Ms. Gutzeit. Structural changes, like mergers and acquisitions, can lead to shorter tenures. And CFOs, like many other high-level executives, found themselves in high demand during the labor market squeeze — allowing them to find new roles more easily. 

Additionally, the nature of the CFO role is changing, Ms. Gutzeit said. As their influence mounts, it could lead to more friction at the top. 

"What we're seeing more now is that the pressures and responsibilities of the CFO have become more and more, and they've really become a key part of that C-suite decision-making party," Ms. Gutzeit told CNBC. "I think that responsibility has become sort of a catalyst where if they don't like the direction of the company or they don't see eye-to-eye with the CEO, that might lead to turnover."

"CFOs may be saying, 'If you're asking me to have a seat at the table and then you're not listening to me, why was I sitting at the table?'" Ms. Gutzeit continued. 

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