What is it like to have your foot pressed hard on the accelerator for decades at work and then one day completely release it?
Many CEOs across America and in South Florida are experiencing the jolt. Without doubt, kicking back is an adjustment for the competitive typical Type A high achiever whose families don’t “snap to attention” like employees did when the boss walked into the room.
Yet, most say their “retirement” from the fast-paced corporate world has been a busy and exhilarating time. With a handsome financial portfolio at hand, the options have been wide. Some have chosen board work, others entrepreneurial ventures. Some have opted to give their time to the community. All say they have a renewed commitment to spouses, parents, kids and friends.
This current group of high-level retirees may be just the leading edge. In the next few years, experts forecast an uptick in CEO retirement. “Just like the rest of the workforce, the CEO class is aging,” says James Pedderson with global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Challenger, which tracks CEO changes, found that through the first three months of 2013, 309 CEO departures were announced. Resignation was the leading reason for departures; retirement ranks second. The remaining CEOs stepped down but remained with the company, usually as a board member or chairman.
Currently, just 13 percent of Americans are ages 65 and older. By 2030, 18 percent of the nation will be at least that age, according to Pew Research Center projections. But don’t tell Baby Boomers that they are old.
The typical Boomer believes that old age doesn’t begin until age 72, according to a 2009 Pew Research survey. And the majority of Boomers report feeling more spry than their age would imply.
That may go double for former CEOs accustomed to a complex, fast-paced business environment — at least if you judge by the wind-down activities of the familiar South Florida figures profiled here.
Formerly: CEO and executive chairman, current non-executive chairman of the board of TECO Energy ( Tampa Electric Company). Former Managing Partner for South Florida at Deloitte from 1983 to 2002.
Current board positions: Lennar Corporation, Publix Supermarkets, Inc., Coconut Grove Bank
Previous board Positions: SportsLine.com Inc, Standard Register Co., Mastec
Education: Bachelor’s degree from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. Certified Public Accountant in Florida.
Personal: Married to Mary Ann, three sons, seven grandkids.
After 37 years, Sherrill Hudson retired early at 59 from his public accounting firm of Deloitte to take up full-time board work. But just a year later, one of those board positions launched him into a giant second career as CEO and chairman of TECO Energy. As CEO, he guided the wobbling Tampa utility back to an even keel, even making it stable financially enough to get back its investment-grade debt ratings.
Now, eight years later, Hudson finally is winding down from full time corporate work and has moved into the role of non-executive chairman at TECO, a compensated position that allows him to loosely stay involved in the company without being an official officer. “I see myself as a trusted business advisor.”