2014 July CEO Report: 105 CEOs Leave Their Posts

The pace of turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers was virtually unchanged in July, as 105 CEOs announced their departures during the month, according to a report issued Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The July total was up 1.9 percent from the 103 CEO departures recorded in June. It was 17.9 percent lower than the 128 CEO changes announced the same month a year ago.

Through the first seven months of the year, US-based companies have announced 766 CEO changes, 5.1 percent more than the 729 CEO exits tracked through July 2013.

Health organizations lead July with 26 announced changes, totaling 180 so far in 2014. That is nearly 19.2 percent more than the 151 departures health care organizations announced during the same period last year.

Government and non-profit agencies announced 16 CEO departures, as did firms in the financial industry. Computer firms announced 7 CEO changes in July.

California leads all states in CEO departures this year with 102, 14 of which occurred in July. Texas follows with 62 CEO departures this year. Pennsylvania and Florida each have 40 departures, while New York has seen 39.

Thirty-one CEOs resigned last month, while 30 retired. Thirteen found new positions in other companies, and seven saw their interim periods end.

Perhaps, the most notable CEO announcement in July came from Target, which grabbed headlines by bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time in the company’s history. Brian Cornell leaves his post as the top executive PepsiCo Americas Foods to fill the office vacated by Gregg Steinhafel in May in the wake of the now infamous credit card security breach. John Mulligan, CFO for Target, has been interim CEO since Steinhafel’s departure.

Jarden Brands replaced Yankee Candle’s CEO Harlen Kent with former merchandising manager Hope Margala after purchasing the consumer brand last year for $1.75 billion. Margala also served as CMO for Longaberger Co. and worked on brands for Bath & Body Works and Victoria Secret.

“Meanwhile, as these CEO positions get filled in the retail and consumer products arenas, struggling retailer JC Penney is still seeking a successor to Myron Ullman, who was brought back to the company to reverse the damage done by his first successor, Ron Johnson. JC Penney reportedly offered the job to Cornell, who accepted the Target offer instead. These recent hires could narrow the field of potential candidates to eventually take the reins from Ullman,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.