Communications operators across the world are facing a growing competitive threat from over-the-top (OTT) entrants – just one of many challenges to their future profitability and even viability. In response, telcos are focusing on reducing complexity and using simplification to manage costs down, while at the same time striving to reinvent their businesses with the customer – and digital technologies – at the core. But how is this transformation affecting telcos’ choice of leadership? Exclusive research conducted by Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, confirms that communications operators change – and fire – their CEOs more often than companies in other industries. They are also more likely to seek and recruit their new CEOs from outside their own organisations. In this article, we examine what these previously unidentified patterns mean for operators, their boards, and their leadership succession plans.