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Justin Fox

This Is a Fine Time to Be a Big Corporation

Companies are staying around longer, and so are top executives.
The reward after a big day of complaining.

The reward after a big day of complaining.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

“Public companies are perishing sooner than ever before,” the Boston Consulting Group’s Martin Reeves and Lisanne Pueschel wrote in a BCG Perspectives essay last month. You hear similar assertions pretty frequently these days. Departing Cisco Systems chief John Chambers has made headlines, repeatedly, with his claim that 40 percent of companies “will not exist in a meaningful way in 10 years.” It’s part of what has become the dominant narrative in corporate circles -- that we are in an era of unprecedented technological disruption and change that only the most forward-looking companies will survive.

BCG consultants, though, have an endearing habit of backing up their claims with data. Reeves -- who heads the firm’s new Bruce Henderson Institute for strategy and economics research -- and Pueschel did this with numbers from Compustat and S&P Capital IQ. And that’s where things get interesting. Here’s their first chart: