Published November 16, 2023

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies fell in October as 105 CEOs left their posts in the month. It is down 34% from the 164 CEO changes announced in September, and up 48% from the 71 CEOs who left their posts in the same month last year, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
So far this year, 1,530 CEOs have left their posts, up 47% from the 1,040 CEO changes during the same period in 2022. It is the highest total in the first ten months of the year since the firm began tracking in 2002.
Challenger Gray & Christmas CEO turnover data for U.S. companies. Monthly comparision, YTD October 2023. 2020 - 2023

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

“Boards are making leadership changes to better manage the issues of remote workers, to weather economic headwinds, and incorporate new technology. Meanwhile, CEOs who have taken on unprecedented challenges the last few years are taking the opportunity to leave,” said Andrew Challenger, workplace expert and Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Women CEOs

The rate of new CEOs who are women continues to hold steady throughout the year at 29% (28.78%). It is higher than the 26% of new CEOs who were women during the same period in 2022. Meanwhile, women CEOs leaving the top spot is holding at 22%, up from 19% during the corresponding period in 2022. 2023 is seeing more new CEOs who are women than any previous year.

Where are CEO Exits Happening?

Government/Non-Profit led last month with 25 CEO exits, all of which occurred at Non-Profits. The sector has seen a total of 378 exits this year, up 72% from the 219 announced through October last year. This sector leads all industries in CEO turnover in 2023.

Technology follows with 146 CEO exits this year, 5 of which occurred in October. That is the fewest number of CEO exits for the sector since two CEOs left Technology companies in December 2022.

Health Care/Products sector has the third-highest number, with 137 CEO exits this year, 11 of which occurred in October.

Hospitals have announced 126 CEO changes, 48% more than the 85 announced during the same period last year.

Reasons for Exits

Companies are most often not giving reasons for their CEOs’ departures at 486, 32% of all CEO exits, up from the 24% of CEOs who left for this reason through October last year.
Another 333 CEOs have retired this year or 22% of all exits, down slightly from the 24% of CEOs who retired by this point last year. Forty-nine CEOs found new positions within their companies, usually heading up another division or location within the umbrella company, while 258 (17%) of CEOs “stepped down” into other C-level, advisory, or Board roles.
Another nine CEOs left their posts last month due to allegations of professional misconduct this year. That is more than double the 4 CEOs who left for that reason since 2020.

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

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