CEO Workplace Stress

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CEOs occupy one of the most crucial roles in any organization. They are responsible for making decisions that determine the success of their companies. This includes long hours of developing strategies, managing employees, competing with rivals, and negotiating deals. The fate of their firms rests on their shoulders, and they are subject to intense scrutiny and pressure. The question remains, can the CEO position have adverse effects on their health or life? Recent studies have revealed that CEOs and other C-suite executives may lose up to 18 months of their lifetime due to work-related stress. This paper will explore the effects of work-related stress on CEO lifespan and provide an in-depth analysis of the recent research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) titled “CEO Stress, Aging and Death.”

The NBER study analyzed the lives of more than 1,600 executives who had all served as CEOs for large US companies before anti-takeover laws were implemented. The researchers found that CEOs had a lifespan reduction of 1.5 years when they experienced an industry-wide downturn and an increase of 2 years when anti-takeover laws were put in place to protect them from corporate rivals. The researchers compared a lifespan reduction of 1.5 years with smoking until age 30, which is associated with a reduction in longevity by roughly one year. The study determined that “CEOs who serve under stricter governance die significantly earlier” and that each year of flexible corporate governance brought down the mortality rates of CEOs by as much as 5%.

The Impact of Workplace Stress on CEO Health

In 2012, a CEO Health and Wellness Survey was conducted by Professor Adrian Kennedy, and the results showed that 58.7% of the CEOs and executives who participated in the survey had a high cardiac risk, 34.90% had high blood pressure, 12.82% had the risk of getting diabetes, while 23.08% had high blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, workplace stress is also known to contribute to obesity, depression, hypertension, and various mental illnesses.

The NBER study also examined the visible effects of workplace stress on CEOs. By using advanced software to analyze 3,086 pictures of top Fortune 500 CEOs who had been exposed to some form of industry-level financial crisis, they found physical evidence of aging. CEOs whose industries underwent a major decline looked about a year older than their counterparts in other industries that did not undergo any form of distress.

The CEO position is undoubtedly one of the most stressful and challenging roles in any organization. However, the adverse effects of work-related stress on CEO lifespan and health cannot be ignored. The recent research conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research provides valuable insights into the impact of work-related stress on CEO lifespan and highlights the need for flexible corporate governance to bring down mortality rates. This study emphasizes the need for organizations to implement strategies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of their CEOs and other C-suite executives to ensure that they are able to lead their companies to success without sacrificing their health or lifespan.

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