Board succession

As announced on 11 October 2022, the YouGov plc Board has made key Board succession planning decisions, as outlined in the Board Succession Planning Announcement, and the FY22 Results Announcement, released on that date. The Board Succession Planning Announcement is replicated here for information.

Board Succession Planning

YouGov, the international online research data and analytics technology group, is pleased to provide an update on Board succession planning in relation to the previously announced planned retirement of the Non-Executive Chair, Roger Parry. This announcement supplements the disclosures regarding Board succession included in the Company’s Preliminary Results Announcement for the year to 31 July 2022 which was released today.

Over the last 12 months, the Board’s Nomination Committee, with support from leading international executive search firm Egon Zehnder, has conducted a rigorous assessment of the Board’s composition and the skills, experience, structure and roles that are needed to support the Company’s next phase of growth and ensure continued, effective leadership of the Group. As part of this process, the Committee identified the criteria required for the role of future Chair of YouGov to continue the delivery of the Company’s long-term vision to become the world’s leading market research platform.

During this assessment Stephan Shakespeare, YouGov’s co-founder and current Chief Executive Officer, indicated to the Committee his desire to assume a more strategic, non-executive leadership role within the Group, allowing him to shift focus from day-to-day operational oversight to more long-term development and governance once the next phase of the Group’s growth strategy had been set out.

After an extensive assessment process, the Board unanimously agreed that it is in the best interests of the Company’s long-term stability for Stephan to take over the role of Chair when Roger steps down. Consequently, Stephan has been appointed as YouGov’s Non-Executive Chair Designate.

Rosemary Leith

Senior Independent Director, YouGov plc

The Nomination Committee, and subsequently the full Board, unanimously agreed that no other candidate could match the qualities which Stephan will bring to the role.

Stephan will assume the Chair role upon a new CEO commencing in post, currently anticipated to be on 1 August 2023 which is the start of the next financial year. The search for a new CEO has been launched and the Nomination Committee is currently considering a wide variety of both external and internal candidates as part of an international search process. The appointment of the CEO Designate is expected in the spring of 2023 to allow sufficient time for a hand-over period. To ensure an orderly transition and allow adequate time to recruit the right candidate for the CEO position, Roger will be put forward for re-election at the upcoming AGM (8 December 2022) with the underlying expectation that he shall retire on 1 August 2023.

As previously announced, Nick Prettejohn joined the Board in June 2022 as a Non-Executive Director. It is intended that Nick will take on the role of Senior Independent Director (“SID”) at the same time as Stephan’s transition to Chair. Rosemary Leith, the current SID, will stay on the Board following this planned transition and will continue as Chair of the Remuneration Committee. In her role as SID, Rosemary led discussions within the Nomination Committee about the succession of the Chair.

To further strengthen the Board and maintain the highest levels of corporate governance, it is also planned that a new independent Non-Executive Director will be appointed in the short term and this search is currently underway. Adding this new Non-Executive role, in addition to Nick, ensures a majority of independent members on the Board following the Chair transition, while bringing further skills and diversity to the boardroom, and it is commensurate to the Company’s current size and growth plans.

The Company will provide updates in respect of the CEO and NED searches in due course.

Roger Parry

Non-Executive Chair, YouGov plc

I have full confidence in Stephan as the next Chair and I look forward to supporting with the ongoing succession planning activities leading up to the planned handover.

Regarding the Chair succession plan:

Rosemary Leith, Senior Independent Director, commented:

“After a series of detailed discussions and exploration of various options for the Chair succession, the Nomination Committee, and subsequently the full Board, unanimously agreed that no other candidate could match the qualities which Stephan will bring to the role. As founder of the Company, he is uniquely positioned due to his extensive knowledge of the business, his in-depth understanding of investor and other stakeholder expectations, and his role in shaping the strategic direction of the Company. The planned changes, with Stephan at the helm as Chair, will result in a Board that is very well placed to lead the next phase of growth for YouGov.”

Roger Parry, Non-Executive Chair, commented:

“As CEO, Stephan has been an exceptional leader of the business and under his tenure as sole CEO since 2010 YouGov has grown top-line more than fivefold. The Board is cognisant of the potential challenges of a Founder & CEO moving to Chair and we have put in place protocols and resources to set the transition up for success. I have full confidence in Stephan as the next Chair and I look forward to supporting with the ongoing succession planning activities leading up to the planned handover.”

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO and Non-Executive Chair Designate, commented:

"It will be an honour to step into the role of Chair and continue my journey with the company I co-founded in 2000. I am hugely excited by the opportunity to lead the Board and to provide continuity and stability to YouGov as we continue our evolution into a platform business under the leadership of the next CEO. With the Nomination Committee’s work on succession and composition, we have a strong governance model for this next phase of our growth.

“As I prepare to transition from my current role as CEO, I am immensely proud of the business we have built over the last 22 years and motivated for the journey ahead. I am confident that I will be handing over the reins with the Group in its strongest ever position and a clear strategy to realising our vision of building the world’s leading market research platform. In the meantime, I am fully engaged in my position as CEO and focussed on the current year.”

Read more on the board succession planning

For any queries:

YouGov Investor Relations

investor.relations@yougov.com