2016 October CEO Report: As Country Gets New Leader, 99 Companies Do in Oct

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive fell in October as 99 planned CEO departures were reported, down 17 percent from the 119 in September, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The October total was up 5 percent from the same month a year ago when 94 were recorded.
Challenger has now tracked 1,043 CEO changes so far this year, 2.2 percent more than the 1,021 departures announced through October 2015.

“We didn’t see a lot of volatility in October, possibly due to companies waiting on election results. We saw the Dow fall on news of a surprise election of Donald Trump, and his policies could have far-reaching effects on trade and commerce,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“It remains to be seen if companies will take action at the executive level as a consequence of the election.”

October CEO departures were led by government/non-profit entities which announced 23 CEO departures last month. Government/non-profit institutions are leading all industries in CEO changes so far this year with 178. This industry has announced 18.7 percent more CEO changes in 2016 than through the same period last year when 150 were recorded.

Financial firms have announced the second highest number of CEO departures this year with 131, 13 in October. The tumultuous departure of Wells Fargo’s CEO John Stumpf is included in those numbers, after an investigation uncovered the systematic opening of fraudulent accounts at the bank.

California leads the country in announced CEO departures in 2016 with 98, followed by Texas with 94. New York has recorded 67 CEO changes this year, 7 of which occurred in October. Florida recorded the fourth highest number of CEO changes this year with 61.

Retirement was the most oft-cited reason for departure so far this year as 292 chief executives used this reason, 31 in October. Another 225 resigned, while 218 stepped into other positions, usually at the C-level or as board chair. Thirty-nine CEOs were ousted, another 6 left amid scandal, while 107 found new positions in other companies.