Challenger CEO Turnover Report: Exits Surge 34% in November; Most CEOs Citing “Retirement” Since January 2020
PUBLISHED December 14, 2022
The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies rose 34% from the 71 in October to 95 in November. November’s total is down 3% from the 98 CEOs who left their posts in the same month last year, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
So far this year, companies have announced 1,135 CEO exits, down 8% from the 1,231 CEOs who left their posts through November 2021. It is the lowest January-to-November total since 2017, when 1,065 CEO exits were announced.
“We may begin to see large numbers of CEO changes as we enter 2023 amid an economic downturn. Companies are shoring up succession plans to enter the storm,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
WHERE ARE CEO EXITS HAPPENING?
The Government/Non-Profit sector leads all industries in CEO turnover with 246, while the Technology sector has announced 126 CEO changes. Companies in the Health Care and Health Care Products industry announced 106 CEO exits, and Hospitals have announced 97 CEO changes.
The Fintech industry has seen 25 CEO exits through November, a 150% increase from the 10 CEOs who left their posts in these companies last year.
“As companies in the Technology and Fintech industry mature, layoffs and CEO changes occur. That is part of the reason for the movement in this sector. Another factor is consumer demand, inflation concerns, and government regulation,” said Challenger.
CEOs have exited 183 public entities this year, slightly more than the 182 public entities that announced CEO changes through November last year.
REASONS FOR EXITS
In November, 37 CEOs retired, the most since 49 CEOs retired in January of 2020. In 2019, an average of 32 CEOs left their posts for this reason per month. That fell to an average of 24 monthly CEO retirements in 2020, but rose to 28 CEO retirements on average in 2021. Currently, an average of 26 CEOs are retiring each month.
Retirement is the leading cause of CEO exits this year with 286, while 256 CEOs have stepped down into other roles within the company, usually as a Chair, Board, or other C-level position. Another 82 cited new opportunities for leaving their positions.
Just over a quarter (26.4%) of new CEOs are women, on par with the rate of women ascending to the CEO role last year. It is up from 23% in 2020, and 22% in 2019.
Companies found their CEOs internally more often than not in November: 50 new CEOs came from inside the company while 42 were external hires. Overall this year, 541 CEOs came from outside the company, and 515 were internal.
Meanwhile, 7% of new CEOs are interim replacements, up from 4% who were interim through the same period last year.
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CEO Departures Picked Up amid Turbulent Marketplace
By Neanda Salvaterra
Published on December 30,2022
The number of #CEOs who exited or switched jobs at U.S. companies swelled to 95 in November, up 34% from the 71 top bosses who exited their roles in October. The trend represents the highest monthly number of CEOs who retired since January 2020, according to data from executive placement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Similarly, about 37 CEOs retired last month, the most since 49 top executives gave up work in January of 2020.
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