2019 June CEO Turnover Report: Q2 Exits Down 25% from Q1, YTD Up 15%

Turnover in the top position fell in June, as employers at U.S.-based companies announced 99 chief executive officer changes, 13% lower than the 114 CEO changes announced in May, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total was 10% higher than the 90 CEO exits announced in the same month last year. June marks the fifth time this year that CEO changes were higher than the corresponding month one year earlier.

June’s turnover adds to the second quarter total of 310, 25% lower than the 416 CEO changes announced in the first quarter of last year, and 7% higher than the 290 changes tracked in the second quarter of 2018. It is the highest second quarter total since 2011, when 319 CEO changes were announced.

So far this year, 726 chief executives have left their posts, 15% more than the 631 who left the top spot at companies in the first half of 2018. It is the most first-half CEO changes since 2006, when 728 CEO changes were recorded.

“Companies are potentially preparing for a contraction in the market and installing leadership who can weather a storm. We’re also seeing a complicated landscape due to tariffs, deregulation, skills shortages, and technological advances, all impacting how companies do business and plan for the future,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger tracks CEO changes at companies that have been in business for at least two years, with a minimum of ten employees.

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Companies in the Government/Non-Profit sector announced the highest number of CEO changes in the second quarter with 67. The year-to-date total for this sector is 162, 37% higher than the 118 announced through June last year.

The Technology sector announced the second-highest number of CEO changes in the second quarter with 49, which makes 83 for the year. That is 6% higher than the 78 announced through this point last year.

Health Care/Products companies announced 29 CEO changes in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date total to 70. Financial companies announced 27 CEO changes in Q2, for a total of 64.
Through June, 283 chief executives, or 39%, stepped down into other positions within their company, usually as a Chairperson or other member of the C-Suite. Another 201 have retired from the CEO role.

Seven CEOs left their positions due to an acquisition or merger in June, 70% of the ten CEOs who have left for this reason in 2019. That is compared to four CEOs who left for that reason through June 2018.

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