Retensa’s Top 10 “Biggest Quits” of 2018
The year loyalty died
New York, NY, December 2018 –Employee loyalty is not a switch, it is a spectrum. And the “Four I’s of Loyalty”, each push and pull against each other in an emotional tug of war toward fulfillment. The volume of quits this year diminished the gravity of 3 of the 4 I’s. The Individual, the Institution, and a shared Ideology driving loyalty all lost influence. Because the 1st “I’ (myself) overwhelmed the others, turnover rates reached record highs in almost every industry. Personal interests prevailed, and 2018 may be the year the loyalty died. Is it permanent, or can organizational loyalty return? Not on its own. It will take targeted effort to increase commitment, and focus attention away from distractions that lure staff away.
Turnover is now a news item. The steady stream of separations at the White House persists, former big quitters re-quit this year, and brazen departures make headlines every week. It reinforces the universal struggle with staff turnover. With a constant stream of your employee’s witnessing other workplace’s pictures, parties, and progress, some people are captivated by FOMO more than ever. In 2018, Retensa followed all of it, and saw turnover occur in 3 trends:
TREND 1: Long-time leaders are leaving. For some, like Pepsi and Lord & Taylor, it is a leader’s time to retire. Others see an impetus for fresh ideas and energy vital to invigorate strategy and stay competitive. The transition from one long standing leader to another is delicate and presents a real challenge for every firm.
TREND 2: “Unicorns” have turnover too. Organizations which rapidly expanded and became billion dollar icons of innovation can be victims of their own success. Companies like Tesla and WhatsApp lose individuals who have been with the organization since its inception. Or recently acquired founders move quickly to pursue new opportunities. Is the hockey-stick growth curve sustainable when no one stays to play hockey?
TREND 3: Shameless quits. Whether it is on the field or on TV, quitters are boldly leaving where no one has left before. Like a defensive back retiring, in the MIDDLE of a nationally televised football game. Despite previous success and future opportunities, can anything be done to stop the parade of talent parading towards the exit? Historically low unemployment may influence the modern employee toward a different sense of loyalty.
Now in its fourteenth publishing, Retensa’s “Big Quits” identifies the year’s most significant resignations across all industry, sport, government, and business. Though not always for the “right” reasons, these are quits that did not help the remaining institution. We present Retensa’s Top 10 “Big Quits” – the most intriguing turnover stories of 2018.
When Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, announced his departure to colleagues he expressed that the timing felt right, he told them ‘When things are going wrong, you can’t up and leave” – and yet now, things are going very wrong, and Blankfein is still leaving. What’s going wrong? One of the biggest scandals of this generation with the Malaysian investment fund for 1MDB, with the US Justice department investigating, with a former partner who has already pleaded guilty to bribery charges. This scandal comes after years of efforts to clean...read more
After starting her career as a dress buyer and staying 30 years at Lord & Taylor, Liz Rodbell steps into a new role at Steve Madden shoes, leaving her post as President. Liz spent her entire career evolving the nation’s oldest department store and in most recent years shifting strategy to revive the business. In the past year, Lord and Taylor announced that they will sell their New York City flagship store to WeWork, for $850 million dollars and plans to cut the chain’s count by up to 10 location by the end of January. In addition to...read more
LeBron James makes a repeat appearance on Retensa’s Biggest Quits List for leaving the Cavaliers again. Betrayal became a familiar feeling to Cleveland, as the news spread that James left $54 million on the court to play for the LA Lakers. Although the reasons are slightly different this time, Cleveland will still suffer the blow to tourism, tax revenue, and bragging rights the 3× NBA champion, 4× NBA Most Valuable Player, and 14× NBA All-Star delivered. Lebron was probably worth more to Cleveland than money could buy. But could...read more
Tesla is known for being one of the most innovative companies of the 21st century, and now has one of the highest executive turnover rates. In 2018, at least17 significant leader quits included: Doug Field, Engineering Chief Jason Mendez, Senior Director for Manufacturing Engineering Will Mccoll, Senior Manager for Equipment Engineering Jon Mcneil, Global President of Sales and Service Susan Repo, Corporate Treasurer and Vice President of Finance Liam O’Connor, Global Supply Management ...read more
Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, co-founders of Instagram, announced their departure from Facebook in September. Their exit is widely viewed as the end of Instagram’s independence from its parent company, or as New York Times cried – “Facebook’s crown jewel loses its guards”. Among all acquisitions, the one with Instagram is not the most expensive, but in some ways, Instagram is Facebook’s next Facebook. The picture based social media app saw usage increase by 41% year-over-year, now valued at $100B by itself, while the core Facebook...read more
Margo Georgiadis doesn’t want to play with Mattel anymore. Her toy story only lasted 14 months when she left Mattel to become the CEO of Ancestry.com. Mattel was in the early stages of her sweeping transformation plan. She intended to revive the flat sales of the world’s second largest toy maker (after Lego) against the trend of video games and baby-brain-captivating tablets. Georgiadis’s departure from the company founded in 1945, reflects the impending reality of the traditional toy industry. She was to be Mattel’s saving grace...read more
Take a bow Jim Parsons. The actor, starring in the astoundingly efficacious hit comedy The Bing Bang Theory on CBS, closes the curtain on his record breaking 279 episodes. Debuting nonchalantly in 2007, the sitcom was a Top 3 most watched show for 7 of its 12 seasons, being nominated for a prodigious 52 Emmys. His role as neurotic physicist, Sheldon Cooper, garnered 4 Emmys and 1 Golden Globe. Parsons became a household name, the highest paid actor on TV along with is co-stars, so why leave? CBS tried to negotiate 2 more seasons but Parsons...read more
The planned departure of CEO, Indra Nooyi ends a sweet era for PepsiCo. Nooyi was with the $63B company for just under half of the 53-year history upon Pepsi Colas’s merger with Frito-Lay. Nooyi, as CEO for the past 12 years, broke down barriers, being the first foreign-born CEO of Pepsi and the first woman to lead the food and beverage giant. Amidst the 90’s health craze, PepsiCo staggered both in product and PR. Nooyi is credited for revitalizing their portfolio, turning their product edge from “Fun for you” to “Fun for...read more
WhatsApp changed its Facebook status, about Facebook. Jan Koum announced that he will “still be cheering WhatsApp on – just from the outside.” Koum, the co-founder and CEO of the largest servicing app in the galaxy, stepped down 4 years after selling the app to Facebook (for $19B), and one month after his fellow co-founder, Brian Acton, tweeted “It is time. #deletefacebook.” Koum’s exit is a result of a culture clash. Both he and Acton openly criticized the targeted advertising model (coming in 2019). They once...read more
The Buffalo Bills lost more than just their game against the LA Chargers. They also lost one of their most decorated players and cornerback, Vontae Davis. The Bills were down 28-6 at halftime when Davis dramatically “retired”. So he skipped the second half, packed up, and quit the NFL forever. Davis was a first round-pick in the NFL draft and a 10 year veteran. He suffered injuries during his career including 3 concussions, a broken wrist and numerous sprains. He had just signed a $5 million one-year contract to continue at the...read more