Infographic: More CEOs Are Being Ousted for Ethical Lapses

This year’s Strategy& CEO Success study shows that boards of directors, institutional investors, governments, and the media are holding chief executive officers to a far higher level of accountability for corporate fraud and ethical lapses than in the past. Although the number of CEOs who are forced from office for ethical lapses remains quite small, firings for ethical lapses have been rising as a percentage of CEO successions: from 3.9 percent of all successions in 2007–11 to 5.3 percent in 2012–16.

Thanks to trends such as greater suspicion among members of the public, heightened regulation, and the 24/7 news cycle, CEO behavior is coming under greater scrutiny, and a smaller margin of error exists for all parties involved. But there’s good news for CEOs, their leadership teams, and their boards of directors. Organizations can protect themselves by making sure that their controls and compliance programs are truly world class, and — even more important — that their corporate culture sends and reinforces clear, well-understood messages about ethical conduct.

For more insights, read “Are CEOs Less Ethical than in the Past?

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