Published on: Oct 8, 2014

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers rose slightly in September as 124 planned CEO departures were reported, up 4.2 percent from the 119 in August, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The September total was up 15.8 percent from the same month a year ago when 107 were recorded. This marks the sixth month in which CEO changes outpaced the same month last year.

Overall, third-quarter CEO departures totaling 348 are the same as the 348 announced during the same three-month span in 2013. The third quarter total is 17.9 percent higher than the preceding quarter when 295 CEO changes were recorded.

Challenger has now tracked 1,009 CEO changes so far this year, 6.3 percent more than the 949 departures announced in the first nine months of 2013.

The health care industry continues to lead all sectors with 78 CEO departures in the third quarter, 27 of which occurred in September. For the year, health care services and products manufacturers have seen 232 CEO changes.

Fifty-two CEO changes were recorded in the government/non-profit sector in the third quarter, while financial firms reported 39 CEO changes. Computer companies had 27 CEO departures in the third quarter, including Larry Ellison from Oracle in September.

Carl Icahn lived up to his activist investor name in September as four major changes occurred as a result of his influence. John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, announced he would leave the company after it split with Paypal next year. The move was advocated by Icahn earlier this year, though Donahoe denied that the decision was due to pressure from Icahn.

Clorox CEO Don Knauss stepped down into the Executive Chairman role after fending off a takeover bid by Icahn. Meanwhile, at Hertz Corporation, CEO Mark Frissora left the rental car company after Icahn’s calls for his resignation.

Resignation was the most oft-cited reason for departure in September, with 43 CEOs, bringing resignations to 300. Another 26 CEOs retired, while 25 stepped down into another chief-level or board position last month. Sixteen CEOs found new positions in other companies, and two were ousted.

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

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries

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