Executive Summary

We’re entering a stretch of accelerating change in which lifespans of big companies are getting shorter than ever, according to Innosight’s study of turnover in the S&P 500.

  • The 33-year average tenure of companies on the S&P 500 in 1965 narrowed to 20 years in 1990 and is forecast to shrink to 14 years by 2026.
  • Record M&A activity and the growth of startups with multi-billion dollar valuations are leading indicators that a period of relative stability is ending and that an increasing number of corporate leaders will lose control of their firm’s future.
  • A storm warning to executives: at our forecasted churn rate, about half of the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years.
  • In a related survey on strategic readiness, executives say that growth strategy is being undermined by day-to-day decisions inside companies and that too many companies lack a coherent vision of the future.

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