Many of those returning to work will start the new year with the prospect of a new boss taking over or getting their feet firmly under the table.
A number of top Scottish companies and organisations are undergoing a change at the top and among the senior positions yet to be filled are the CEOs of Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow Airport.
CEO tenure continues to shorten, a factor in driving up remuneration. Amid renewed criticism over “fat cat pay” Sam Dumitriu, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute, said: “It is a mistake to fret about executive pay packets.
“In fact, given how important the decisions a CEO makes are to the success of a firm, it would be shocking if they were not extremely well paid. When Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts announced her departure, it wiped £536m off Burberry’s value. Similarly, when Steve Ballmer resigned as Microsoft CEO, the firm’s value jumped by £20bn. Is it any wonder that firms invest heavily in attracting top talent?
“The long-term trend suggests that CEOs are more valuable to firms now than ever before. Unexpected CEO departures are leading to ever bigger share price movements. If shareholders, and that includes anyone with a private pension, want a return on their investments then hiring the right chief executive is essential.
“Poorly performing CEOs are bad for shareholders but worse for workers. Microsoft’s failure to invest big in smartphones not only reduced profits, it also meant they created fewer jobs. Politicians should be careful, bashing CEO pay may sound good on the stump but if British businesses lose out on top talent to the US and Europe, British workers and savers will pay the price.”
So, who among Scottish CEOs was in and out last year, and who is about to make their mark in Scotland in 2018?
The broadcaster appointed Simon Pitts, one of the architects of ITV’s transformation, as chief executive to replace Rob Woodward.
Founder and chief executive Andrew Shepherd agreed to step down and resign from the board and will be succeeded by Colin King, chief operating officer.
Stuart Pender, chief executive of the property group, became executive chairman under a management shake-up at the Edinburgh-based company. Bruce Evans, group managing director, was promoted to CEO.
Co-founder Nigel Eccles left his post as CEO in a boardroom shake-up at the fantasy games company and was replaced by former chief financial officer Matt King. The company relocated its headquarters from Edinburgh to New York.
Shares in IndigoVision closed 28.3% lower after CEO Marcus Kneen resigned amid a statement on losses. Pedro Simoes, who was appointed as senior vice president – global sales in October, was installed as interim chief executive.
David Ritchie, CEO of the Fife-based shop and office fitter, resigned and was replaced by Shaun Allen Ormrod.
Peter Page will leave as chief executive of Scottish meat casings company Devro on 27 February after 10 years with the group. He will be replaced by Rutger Helbing
Amanda McMillan is leaving after nine years in the post as her family is relocating to Australia. A successor has yet to be announced.
Former PwC restructuring partner Bruce Cartwright has been appointed chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. He replaces Anton Colella who is leaving in March after almost 11 years.
Lena Wilson announced she was stepping down as CEO in July and headhunters have begun the search for her successor on a significantly lower salary. A recruitment agency has set a closing date of 5 January.
Scottish Engineering chief executive Bryan Buchan resigned, to be succeeded by former Polaroid executive Paul Sheerin.
Daily Business revealed that the first CEO of the skills academy Harvey Wheaton left last summer. Melinda Matthews Clarkson, a former senior figure at technology giant IBM, takes over.
After the departure of former diplomat David Frost, the SWA appointed another former ambassador as its chief executive. Karen Betts joined the SWA after a 16 year career in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), latterly as British Ambassador to Morocco.
Claire Mack took over as chief executive from Niall Stuart, who announced his intention to step down. Ms Mack was director of policy and place at SCDI.
Mark Bevan, director for Business in the Community Scotland, joined SCDI on 22 May. as CEO, replacing Ross Martin.
Tracy Black takes over as director of CBI Scotland from Hugh Aitken who has held the post for two years. Ms Black becomes the first female to hold the post.