While April saw the economy add 164,000 jobs and the unemployment rate edge down to 3.9 percent, a total of 109 Chief Executive Officers left their posts at U.S.-based companies during the month, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Last month’s total is 19.8 percent higher than the 91 CEOs who left their posts in April 2017 and 13.5 percent higher than the 96 tracked in March. So far this year, 450 CEO changes have been announced, 14.8 percent higher than the 392 CEO changes tracked in the first four months of last year. This is the highest January-April total since 2014, when 460 CEOs left their posts.
“Although the economy seems to be booming, companies appear to be readying for change,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The Government/Non-Profit sector continues to lead all industries in departures, with 87, 23 of which occurred in April. This sector announced 64 percent more CEO changes in 2018 than through the same period last year.
“The increased activity in Government and Non-Profit entities could be due to changing legislation and redistribution of federal funding. Other sectors that have seen an increase in CEO change activity include the Computer industry, which is seeing a number of disruptive technologies, as well as those related to consumer behavior,” noted Challenger.
Computer companies announced 58 exits so far this year, with 18 last month. Computer companies have announced nearly 71 percent more CEO changes this year than the 34 changes that occurred through this period last year.
Health Care/Products firms have announced 45 CEO exits in 2018, including nine in April. Financial companies have reported 43 through the year.
Most CEOs (135), have stepped down into other positions within the company, usually as a Board Member or other C-Level executive. Another 132 retired from their positions and 60 resigned.
California companies saw the highest number of CEO changes this year with 49, 12 of which occurred in April. Companies in Texas saw 12 departures last month, while Florida reported 11.