Chief Executive Officer turnover fell 42%, from the record 219 who left their posts in January to 128 in February. Last month’s total is 3% higher than the same month last year, when 124 CEOs left their posts, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, 347 CEOs have left their posts, 23.5% higher than the 281 who left their posts through February last year. It is the highest January-February total on record, followed by last year’s total for the first two months of the year. The third-highest total occurred in 2008, when 248 CEOs left their posts.

“The slowdown could be a reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, as companies hunker down and determine their next steps. Making a leadership change during a time of such uncertainty will not inspire confidence in workers nor shareholders,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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