Laura Alix
Director of Research

Bank leaders broadly have faith in their executive management team to lead the organization through the next five years, but many are also unclear about who will be leading the bank in the longer term. 

Forty percent of respondents to Bank Director’s 2024 Compensation & Talent Survey, sponsored by Chartwell Partners, say they expect their CEO to depart or retire within the next five years. Just 18% of survey respondents have identified both a CEO succession candidate, as well as a timeline and plan of action, while another 29% say they have identified one or more succession candidates but not a timeline. Bank leaders who expect their CEO to depart within two years are clear about their timeline and succession candidate, but few of those who expect their CEO to leave within three to five years have identified possible succession candidates. 

Taken altogether, the results suggest that many bank boards may need to take a more proactive role in succession planning for the CEO and other key C-suite roles, says J. Scott Petty, a managing partner at Chartwell. The survey findings also underscore the need for bank boards to take regular stock of their organization’s talent and hold management accountable for its part in succession planning. 

“Boards who are looking at a CEO change in the near future need to set a firm transition timeline and stick with it,” he says. “We too often see CEO succession timelines extend, which increases the likelihood the internal successor will be recruited away.”

A large majority (84%) of survey respondents say they believe the talent level of their executive team is strong enough to achieve their bank’s financial and strategic goals over the next five years, even though many of those ostensibly expect their CEO to leave or retire in that time frame. Nearly half (48%) of respondents also report their CEO is over 60 years of age. 

Three-quarters of respondents say they could look at external talent in their markets and 70% say they could enhance internal talent development efforts to address gaps in the talent pipeline or succession plan over the next three years. Forty-four percent also say their bank could consider buying another bank to address those gaps. 

Thirty-five percent of bank executives and directors say they are looking at external candidates to fill key C-suite roles. 

Key Findings

Costs Continue to Climb
A majority (88%) of survey respondents say that compensation expenses increased from last year, and they reported a median increase of 7% in that time. Additionally, fifty-eight percent name managing compensation and benefits costs as a top compensation-related challenge. 

Commercial Banking Carrots
Nearly half (49%) of respondents say their bank has implemented new incentives for commercial bankers to bring in new deposit accounts, compared with 42% who said as much last year. Another 22% say they’re looking into it, while 26% say their bank does not do this. 

Declining Interest In DE&I
Fewer bank leaders say their organizations record some type of diversity, equity and inclusion metrics. Just over half say they measure the percentage of women and 46% measure the percentage of minorities at different levels of the bank. The percentage who lack a formal diversity, equity & inclusion program rose slightly to 42% from 37% a year ago.  

Worth The Effort
Sixty-six percent of board chairs, lead directors and independent directors believe they are fairly compensated in their role as a director, given the time and responsibility required. 

Hiring Pressures Fade
Just 39% of bank leaders say that it was more difficult for their bank to hire and retain talent in 2023-24 than it was a year earlier, compared with 56% who said the same last year. 

C-Suite Strength
Fifty-nine percent believe their bank has a strong bench of talent to prepare for C-suite roles in the next five years, but 52% also say they don’t expect to have to fill any C-suite roles in 2024 or 2025. 

To view the high-level findings, click here.

Bank Services members can access a deeper exploration of the survey results. Members can click here to view the complete results, broken out by asset category and other relevant attributes. If you want to find out how your bank can gain access to this exclusive report, contact [email protected].


Laura Alix

Director of Research

Laura Alix is the Director of Research at Bank Director, where she collaborates on in-depth strategic research for bank directors and senior executives, including Bank Director’s annual surveys. She also writes for and edits online video content. Laura is particularly interested in workforce recruitment and retention strategies, and environmental, social and governance issues facing the banking industry. Previously, she covered national and regional banks for American Banker, and before that, she covered community banks for Banker & Tradesman and The Commercial Record. Based in Boston, she has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree from CUNY Brooklyn College. You can follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.