It sounds great, being an executive. The pay is nice, the
perks are many, and you get your own parking spot.
But between all the power lunches and golf outings, there's
this: You have to perform.
If you sit around enjoying the perks and patting yourself on
the back, you'll soon find yourself knee-deep in problems you
don't know how to solve. It won't be long before you can add the
title "former executive" to your CV.
That's why the best and brightest execs aren't content to lie
around admiring the reflection in the mirror. They seek advice,
training and research from companies like the Corporate Executive
), or CEB.
CEB provides data analysis, research and advisory services to
executives and professionals in the U.S., Europe and
The bulk of its work focuses on best-practice programs for
various executive functions, including Human Resources, Strategy
and Management, Information Technology, Sales and Marketing,
Corporate Finance, Legal and Governance, Innovation and
Operations, and Financial Services.
Such tools are important in a corporate world that seems to
turn on a dime whenever some new economic, political or financial
event occurs, analysts say.
"CEB conducts research into timely issues that members of any
executive suite might face, and produces best-practice guidelines
and tools for its members to implement these practices," said
Shlomo Rosenbaum, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.
The company sells its research on an annual subscription
basis. Each subscription gives members access to best-practice
studies, educational seminars, research briefs and online access
to data resources and other tools.
CEB has sold subscriptions to more than 5,900 members
worldwide. The majority of its revenue, 69%, comes from the U.S.
Europe accounts for 18% of revenue, and other regions produce the
Like many companies, CEB's financial results suffered during
the economic downturn and financial crisis as corporations
tightened spending for research and analysis tools. The company
reported two straight years of lower sales and earnings in 2009
But results improved last year with CEB logging a slight
earnings gain and a 12% year-over-year rise in revenue.
The company has really turned on the jets the last three
quarters. Earnings have risen at least 42% during that time,
while sales have gained at least 13%.
The recent growth has come as customers continue to grapple
with the sluggish U.S. economy and debt problems in Europe.
CEB executives reckon its products and services are especially
important in a challenging operating environment.
"We think in this environment our resources match up very well
against the challenges people have," Chief Executive Tom Monahan
said on a conference call following CEB's second-quarter earnings
"Our teams are doing a great job finding ways to make sure
we're connecting in conversations and through technology with
those problems," he continued. "(We're) giving (members) real
immediate returns on their investments with us."
CEB's total number of members during the second quarter
increased 9.9% from the prior year to 5,909, according to a note
from analyst Daniel Leben of Baird Equity Research.
The company posted second-quarter earnings of 48 cents a
share. That was up 60% from the prior year, the highest gain in
years, and well ahead of estimates. Revenue rose 16% to $135.7
million, also above views.
Revenue per customer climbed 2.1% to $86,800. On a sequential
basis, the figure rose by $1,300 with midsize businesses
comprising the bulk of new clients.
"From a selling standpoint, management mentioned that its
performance remained strongest in the North America and Asia
Pacific markets, while Europe continues to experience difficulty
in obtaining new business," Leben noted.
"As far as verticals are concerned, management stated that in
general all verticals are meeting expectations and growing at a
similar pace," he added.
CEB reported Q2 results July 30. A day later, the stock shot
up 9.6% to a 4-1/2-year closing high of 46.11. Shares pushed as
high as 48.32 on Aug. 17.
Meanwhile, the company changed its ticker symbol to CEB from
EXBD Aug. 13. It also recently approved a cash dividend on its
common stock for the third quarter of $0.175 per share.
CEB maintained its 2012 revenue guidance of $535 million to
$555 million, up from $485 million last year. Earnings guidance
was raised to a range of $1.90 to $2.05 a share vs. prior
guidance of $1.75 to $2. Last year, the company earned $1.53 a
Part of CEB's growth will come from its purchase of U.K.-based
SHL, a provider of cloud-based talent measurement and management
solutions. That deal closed on Aug. 2.
"The addition of SHL to CEB's portfolio creates a uniquely
valuable resource to help executives apply predictive analysis to
the selection, development and management of talent," CEO Monahan
said in a statement.