CEO advisory community Vistage buys UK's Academy for Chief Executives

11 April 2018 4 min. read
More news on

The Academy for Chief Executives has been acquired by professional services firm Vistage. The partnership is aimed at growing the Vistage community of CEOs and business leaders, as the firm works to cement its position as one of the world’s top CEO organisations.

Exemplifying a trend of volatility for Chief Executive Officers, Deutsche Bank recently relieved its British boss, John Cryan, of his duties, after just three years. The move came after a boardroom battle over the firm's declining turnaround effort, with the German financial giant promoting Christian Sewing, the head of its private and commercial banking division, as the new CEO in the hope of turning around its fortunes. In line with this, the average CEO now enjoys a limited life-span of 5 years, although companies considering a change at the top to boost their firm’s performance are increasingly finding that Chief Executive turnover is not a magic bullet.

Emphasising this, one example saw nearly half the respondents from the private equity sector respond to a recent AlixPartners survey by telling the consulting firm that unplanned CEO changes actually erode financial performance. With the most drastic action available found to be damaging to companies, firms are increasingly looking to invest in leadership training and support networks to get the most from those occupying the top job.

Vistage + Academy for Chief Executives

Vistage is a CEO peer advisory organisation, aimed at working with CEOs and executive leaders who are looking to drive better decisions and better results for their companies. Vistage has over 22,000 members spread across 20 countries worldwide, who gather in confidential peer advisory groups to tackle their toughest challenges and biggest opportunities. By leveraging the Vistage platform, the group states that its members have demonstrated the ability to refine their instincts, improve their judgment, expand their perspectives and optimise decision making, while according to a 2017 study by Dun & Bradstreet, CEOs who joined Vistage grew their companies at over twice the rate of their competitors.

The Academy for Chief Executives in the UK consists primarily of UK based business leaders from companies with a minimum of £5 million in turnover and at least 20 employees. The organisation works to unlock the potential of executives by way of a trio of key resources; world class speakers and peer to peer learning with other successful business leaders, along with one on one coaching, mentoring and guidance. The deal, forged to bring the two communities together, creates a collaborative community of over 100 Chairs and 1,800 members across Britain, supported and connected by the resources and programmes of a global brand.

From Vistage’s perspective, the network will hope to advance its long-term goal of becoming the world’s most trusted resource to CEOs and key executives, by obtaining access to the Academy’s experienced Chairs, and its hundreds of successful members. Likewise, the Academy will look to leverage the deal to benefit from a wide range of events, online resources, market research, and learning and networking opportunities within Vistage.

According to Vistage CEO Sam Reese, the merger is ideal, as the organisations have a shared culture and mission statement, which was a primary driver for the acquisition. He added, “The bottom line is that we share the same goals, and have very similar principles. Our strategy must always be rooted in member value; expanding our membership with quality members and Chairs contributes richness, diversity, wisdom and added value to all in our community, both within the UK as well as globally.”

Ian Price, CEO of The Academy for Chief Executives also noted the similarity between the two businesses, before elaborating further on the Academy’s hopes for the deal. He said, “Our members… will find great added value in the Vistage platform, which will complement their current membership experience. Our Chairs will also benefit from becoming part of an enlarged, supportive community, with new opportunities to develop their skills, and from the resources that come with being part of a successful global brand.”