August CEO Report: CEO Exits Drop to 96

Chief Executive Officer departures dropped 5.8 percent from July’s six-month high of 102, as 96 CEOs left their posts in August. This is 11.9 percent fewer than the 109 CEOs who left their posts in the same month last year, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, 765 CEOs have announced their exits, down 7.2 percent from the 825 CEOs who left their roles in the first eight months of 2016.

“While CEO changes have decreased year over year, we are seeing some industries with considerable increases in CEO exits compared to last year. Commodities – mining and metals – has increased 900 percent this year, while the service sector has recorded a 200 percent more increase in CEO changes,” said John Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The government/non-profit sector leads all industries this year, with 117 departures, 15.2 percent of all announced exits this year, and 12.7 percent fewer than the 134 CEOs in this sector who left their posts through August last year. The service sector follows, with 81 departures, 66 percent more than the 27 service sector CEOs who left their posts in the first eight months of 2016. Both of these industries led CEO departures in August, with 18 each.

Hospitals recorded the third highest number of CEO departures this year, with 75, 23 percent fewer than the 98 hospital CEOs who left their posts last year. Financial CEOs followed, with 72 in 2017, a 31 percent drop from the 105 financial sector CEOs who left by this point last year.

The computer industry continues to see steady turnover throughout the year. In August, there were nine recorded departures, making a total of 62 for the year. The financial industry also saw nine chief executives leave their posts, bringing the industry total to 105 for the year.

California has seen the highest number of departures this year as well as this month. This year, the state saw 96 exits, or 12.5 percent of all exits announced, with this month seeing 13 alone. Texas followed, with ten departures for the month, and New York saw seven top leaders depart. Colorado and Florida each reported five departures for the month of August.

Nearly 32 percent of the overall reasons for departures this year were cited as stepping down into another position within the company. A total of 243 CEOs stepped down, with a recorded 27 in August. Retirement accounted for 26 percent of the overall exits, with 199 CEOs announcing their retirement in the first eight months of the year, 23 of which occurred in August.