CEO Turnover Continues Record High as 148 Exit in November

Chief Executive Officer turnover fell to 148 in November, down 14% from the record-setting 172 CEOs who left their posts in October, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total is virtually unchanged from the 147 CEO exits recorded in the same month last year. So far this year, 1,480 CEOs have left their posts, according to Challenger tracking, 12% higher than the 1,323 CEOs who announced their exits through November 2018. It is the highest January-November total since the firm began tracking in 2002, and only four CEOs fewer than the previous full-year high of 1,484 CEO exits tracked in 2008.

“Several factors are contributing to the high rate of CEO turnover. One is a strong economy and high demand for C-level skills are attracting CEOs to new positions. Another is the ongoing uncertainty surrounding trade and regulations while emerging technologies continue to disrupt almost every industry,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“We are also tracking companies that are demanding accountability in their CEOs’ professional and personal lives. Any behavior unbecoming to a company’s brand is pretty quickly followed by a resignation announcement,” he added.

NEW: Indeed companies appear eager for new blood. For the replacements for which we have data, 718 are external this year and 545 are internal. This year is the first time external replacements have surpassed internal since 2013.