2015 September CEO Report: 104 CEOs Leave in September, 339 in Q3

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers fell slightly in September as 104 planned CEO departures were reported, down 2.8 percent from the 107 in August, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The September total was down 16.1 percent from the same month a year ago when 124 were recorded.

Overall, third-quarter CEO departures totaling 339 have fallen only slightly from the 348 announced during the same three-month span in 2014. The third quarter total is 17.3 percent higher than the preceding quarter when 289 CEO changes were recorded.

Challenger has now tracked 927 CEO changes so far this year, 8.1 percent fewer than the 1,009 departures announced in the first nine months of 2014.

  • The government/non-profit and financial industries led all sectors in the third quarter with 45 CEO departures each. Companies in the government/non-profit space announced 17 CEO departures in September, while financial firms had 14. For the year, government/non-profit leads all sectors with 132, followed by financial with 108.
  • Forty-three CEO changes were recorded at hospitals, while computer firms reported 30 CEO changes. Health care companies had 29 CEO departures in the third quarter. The top five industries for CEO changes in the third quarter were also the top industries for the year.

  • California has reported the highest number of CEO departures in 2015 with 99, followed by Texas with 71. New York reported 56 CEO changes so far this year.
  • A majority of CEOs retired in September, as 29 companies cited this reason in announcements, bringing the yearly total to 226. Nineteen CEOs stepped down into a board position or other chief-level role in September, while 18 resigned. United Continental CEO Jeff Smisek was one of 9 CEOs who left amid legal trouble or federal investigations this year. He was replaced by CSX COO and former United CEO Oscar Munoz.