2014 November CEO Report: 103 Exits; Highest Monthly Computer Changes in 7 Years

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers fell sharply in November as 103 planned CEO departures were reported, 15.6 percent fewer than the 122 recorded in October, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The November total was up 9.6 percent from the same month a year ago when 94 CEO departures were announced. This marks the eighth month in which CEO changes outpaced the same month last year.
Challenger has now tracked 1,234 CEO changes so far this year, 7.6 percent more than the 1,147 departures announced in the first eleven months of 2013.

The health care industry continues to lead all sectors with 275 CEO departures through November. Government/Non-Profit entities have announced 182 CEO changes this year, with 13 last month. Financial firms, which recorded 4 CEO changes in November, have an 11-month total of 131.

The computer sector tied with the health care sector for most CEO changes last month with 17. This marks the most computer sector CEO changes in one month since November 2007 when companies announced 24 CEO departures. The computer industry has the fourth highest number of CEO changes this year with 119.

The most notable departure in tech came from Sunnyvale, CA-based Juniper Networks, whose board ousted CEO Shaygan Kheradpir citing questionable conduct during negotiations with a customer. Crowdsourcing news and entertainment site Reddit also replaced its CEO Yishan Wong after disagreements on office plans caused him to resign. Ellen Pao, Reddit’s business and partnership strategist, will lead in the interim.

The heaviest CEO turnover in November occurred in California with 18 exits, 160 so far this year. Texas ranks second with 99, and New York surpasses Pennsylvania with 75 total CEO exits to date; Pennsylvania has 71.

Resignation was the most oft-cited reason for departure in November, with 30 CEOs, bringing that reason to a total of 352. Another 25 CEOs stepped down into other executive management or board positions, while 13 retired. Thirteen CEOs found new positions in other companies, and five were ousted.