Published on: Nov 7, 2013 

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

The October total was down 3.7 percent from the same month a year ago when 108 were recorded. Challenger has now tracked 1,053 CEO changes so far this year, 5.3 percent more than the 999 departures announced in the first ten months of 2012.

Due to continued changes in the health care landscape, this sector led all industries in October with 29 CEO departures, 25 of which came from hospitals and hospital systems. Of those CEOs, nine went on to serve as high-level executives of other hospitals, usually as CEO. To date, the health care sector has now seen 224 CEO departures in 2013, which is the highest turnover among all sectors tracked by Challenger.

The second-ranked government and non-profit sector has seen just 151 changes at the CEO position in 2013. The 18 departures in this sector last month included Laura Santucci of the National Democratic Committee, who was replaced by Amy Dacey.

Meanwhile, the financial industry saw 15 chief executive changes in October, bringing the year-to-date total to 129.

“It is not surprising that these three areas – health care, government, and financial – are experiencing the highest levels of turnover this year. They are, after all, the sectors that are struggling the most in the current environment. Health care systems are dealing with cuts in Medicare and Medicaid funding. Government agencies and non-profits that depend on government funding are in cost-cutting mode, as federal and state lawmakers seek ways to cut massive deficits. The financial sector still has not fully recovered from the recession,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“These challenges are forcing many organizations to reconsider their leadership and/or compelling many CEOs to reconsider their commitment to industries going through such volatile times,” he added.
Retirement was the most oft-cited reason for departure in October, with 30 CEOs citing it. This brings the year-to-date total for resignations to 234, second to resignations, which was cited by 301 CEOs so far this year, 28 of which occurred in October. Another 17 CEOs found new positions in other companies, including the 9 hospital CEOs. Thirteen CEOs stepped down into other chief-level or board position last month.

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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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