2015 January CEO Report: 110 CEOs Out, Some on Oil Prices

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers was virtually unchanged in January as 110 CEOs announced their departures during the month, up from 107 in December, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The January total was 16 percent lower than the same month a year ago, when CEO departures reached a four-year high of 131.

January departures were led by CEOs in government and non-profit organizations, which saw 18 chief executives announce their exits. Hospital CEOs followed with 12, and financial firms experienced 10 CEO changes for the month.

Meanwhile, energy companies announced 7 CEO changes last month, 4 of which were recently impacted by low oil prices: Apache Corp., Sierra Hamilton, Kinder Morgan, and 1845 Oil Field Services. Energy companies saw nine CEO departures in December 2014, which was the highest monthly number of energy CEO changes since February 2010, when 12 CEOs left energy firms.

Companies based in Texas and Florida had the highest number of CEO departures in January with 11 in each state, followed by California and New York who recorded six CEO changes a piece.
Retirement was the most oft-cited reason for departures, as 36 CEOs used this explanation, while 35 stepped down from the CEO role, usually as Chairman or other C-level executive. Eighteen retired, while seven found new positions in other companies.

Perhaps, the most notable January departure occurred at McDonald’s, where CEO Don Thompson left amid concern over financial losses, after being on the job for just under three years. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb will replace Lamberto Andreotti with COO Giovanni Caforio this summer.