WeWork has turned to a 57-year old real estate veteran to help turn it around, suddenly becoming the latest example of a spike in older CEOs getting hired
- Sandeep Mathrani, WeWork's new CEO, is representative of a trend: the aging C-suite.
- The average age of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 CEOs spiked from 2018 to 2019, according to data from the executive-staffing firm Crist Kolder Associates.
- The overwhelming majority of CEOs are white, though the number of CEOs of color has ticked up over the past 15 years, another trend Mathrani exemplifies.
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The graying of America's workforce is particularly visible in one important place, the C-suite. And Sandeep Mathrani's placement as WeWork's new CEO, which was announced on Monday, is the latest example.
A 2019 report from the executive-staffing firm Crist Kolder Associates said CEOs' average age at the time of hiring for Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies rose sharply to 58 years old from 54 between 2018 and 2019.
The most common age for a CEO to be hired at is 57 years old, the report said. Mathrani is 57, according to Fortune.
The office sharer has seen turnover at the top of the house over the past year. Founder and original CEO Adam Neumann stepped down in September following a failed IPO, replaced by co-CEOs Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, who are slated to walk away with millions on being replaced.
WeWork's new CEO, who is Indian American, also represents another, albeit slower, trend: increasing diversity at the top of company leadership.
The Crist Kolder report said racial diversity among CEOs has risen but that executives of color still made up a small fraction of corporate leaders. Other data also indicates businesses are lagging in increasing racial diversity at the top.
Half of sitting chief executives got their gigs before they turned 51, according to the report. Warren Buffett, who is 88, was the oldest CEO in the study — and he doesn't plan to leave anytime soon.
While some male CEOs, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell, started their companies as teenagers, the female executives covered in the study were 40 or older when they were hired.
Racial diversity among Fortune 500 and S&P 500 CEOs grew slightly last year: Five more chief executives were from minority groups in 2019 than in 2018, bringing the total number of CEOs of color to 59.
Despite the increase, just 8.7% of the 675 companies in the study had CEOs of color.
Most of the growth in the number of CEOs of color over the past 15 years came from more Asian and Latino hires. There are 20 more Asian CEOs and 13 more Latino chief executives in 2019 than there were in 2004, according to the study.
Black chief executives, however, are still barely represented in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500, despite African Americans making up the second-largest racial group in the US. The number of black CEOs in the studied companies has hovered between four and seven since 2004. According to the 2019 report, there are just five black Fortune 500 and S&P 500 CEOs.
Other data suggests men and women of color have struggled to see gains in corporate board rooms and executive positions. A recent report by Lean In and McKinsey said women of color made up just 4% of C-suite executives and men of color made up 10%.