Published February 28, 2022

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies rose 12% from the 100 in December to 112 in January. January’s total is down 10% from the 125 CEOs who left their posts in the same month one year prior, according to a report released Tuesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s total is the highest monthly total since 150 CEOs left their posts in May 2022.

“January has the highest number of CEO exits on average than any other month, as companies assess their previous fiscal year and make plans for the future,” said Andrew Challenger, leadership expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger January 2023 CEO Turnover Report, Average monthly CEO exits since 2002

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

In fact, since 2002, when Challenger began tracking CEO exits, 116 CEOs have left their posts on average in January, while September has seen the second-highest average with 110.

Where Are CEO Exits Happening?

Hospitals led all industries in January with 23, 21% of all CEO exits announced in January. This is the highest total for the sector since August 2018 when 24 Hospital CEOs left their posts.

“Hospitals and Hospital Systems have undergone incredible challenges over the last three years as the pandemic raged, burned out health care workers, and pushed resources to the limits. Some of these leaders themselves are likely burned out as well, while others are moving to different Hospitals to execute skills they’ve gained during those difficult times,” said Challenger.

Related: How Companies Can Help Employees Avoid Burnout

The Government/Non-Profit sector followed with 18, while the Technology sector announced 17 CEO changes.

“The Technology sector is currently undergoing massive restructurings which include layoffs. Challenger tracked nearly 42,000 job cut announcements in the sector in January. Often companies bring in new leadership during this time of change,” said Challenger.

Indeed, the Technology industry announced 41,829 cuts in January, after cutting 97,171 in all of 2022, the highest annual total for the sector since 2002 when 131,294 cuts were recorded.

The Financial industry, which is seeing impacts from recession concerns and mortgage rate hikes, announced the fourth-highest total of CEO exits with 16.

CEOs exited 14 public entities in January, slightly fewer than the 17 public entities that announced CEO changes in January of 2022.

Reasons For Exits

Most CEOs (35) retired in January, while another 16 CEOs stepped down into other positions in the company, usually in a Board or other C-level role.

Another 10 CEOs and companies found new positions within the organization, in a new company within the organizational structure or in a new unit or division. Two CEOs saw their positions terminated.

Women CEOs

Twenty-nine percent of new CEOs were women in January, up from 28% in the same month last year. In 2022, 26% percent of new CEOs were women, up from 23% in 2020 and 22% in 2019. At the same time, 24% of exiting CEOs were women, similar to the rate of women CEOs exiting their posts in January last year (25%).

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

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CEO exits are on the rise to start this year, with 112 leaving their posts in January, according to a report released Tuesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. That was a 12% increase over December and the highest monthly total since 150 CEOs exited in May 2022.


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