Published February 27, 2024

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies hit 194 to start 2024, down 5% from the 204 CEO exits recorded in December 2023. It is a 73% increase from the 112 CEO exits that occurred in the same month one year prior, according to a report released Tuesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s total is the highest in January since 2020 when 219 CEOs left their posts.

Challenger CEO Report: Monthly exits from January 2016 - January 2024

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

“Companies’ priorities are cost savings and digital transformation in 2024, and that often means choosing new leadership to implement these plans,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Women CEOs

The rate of new CEOs who are women was 28.8% in January 2024, slightly lower than the 29.5% of incoming CEOs who were women in January 2023. Of CEOs who left their posts, 24% were women.

Where are CEO Exits Happening?

Government/Non-Profit led last month with 48 CEO exits, 42 of which occurred at Non-Profits. This is a 167% increase from the 18 CEO exits in this sector in January 2023. It is down 21% from the 61 CEO exits in this sector one month prior.

The Health Care/Products sector was the second-highest industry for CEO exits in January with 22. This is a 633% increase from the 3 CEO exits in the Health Care/Products during the same month last year. It is down slightly from the 24 Health Care/Products CEOs who left their post in December 2023.

Technology follows with 21 CEO exits last month, up 24% from the 17 announced in the same month last year.

Hospitals announced 11 CEO changes in January, a 52% decrease from the 23 exits announced at Hospitals in January 2023.

Reasons for Exits

Companies most often did not disclose reasons for their CEOs’ departures last, with 74 cases (38% of all CEO exits).

Another 40 CEOs retired last month, accounting for 21% of all exits, compared to 31% of CEOs who retired in January 2023.

Thirty-one CEOs “stepped down” into other C-level, advisory, or Board roles making up 16% of all exits. During the same month last year, 14% of CEOs “stepped down” into some sort of Board or advisory role within their organizations.

Twelve CEOs found new positions within their organization or company hierarchy.

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SVP Andy Challenger is available for interviews on the job market, economy, and job search process. Please contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more information.

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