Employers at U.S.-based companies announced 135 chief executive officer changes last month, 8.9% higher than the 124 CEO changes announced in February, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

March’s total was 40.6% higher than the 96 CEO exits announced in the same month last year. In the first quarter, 416 CEOs have left their posts, 22% higher than the 341 CEOs who left their posts during the same period in 2018.

First quarter CEO changes are 2% lower than the 425 CEO changes announced in the previous quarter. It is the highest first quarter total since Challenger began tracking CEO changes in 2002.

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