Government/Non-Profit and Tech Lead All Industries in CEO Exits

Published July 20, 2022

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies fell 29% to 106 in June from 150 in May. It is 2% higher than the 104 CEO changes announced in the same month in 2021, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Exits Rise Year Over Year

In the second quarter, CEO exits hit 379, up 13% from the 336 exits announced in the second quarter of 2021 and down 4% from the 395 CEO changes announced in the previous quarter.

quarterly CEO turnover since 2016

So far this year, 774 CEOs have left their posts, the highest first half total since the firm began tracking monthly CEO changes in 2002. It is up 20% from the 591 CEO exits announced through June last year, and up 6% from the previous high of 728 exits announced in the first six months of 2006.

“The labor market is still tight at the moment, despite increasing layoffs and a likely recession on the horizon,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“The skills CEOs implemented, as well as acquired, during the pandemic are extremely valuable and many of them are finding new opportunities both within the organization and at new companies. Meanwhile, a large swath of CEOs are choosing this challenging economic time to retire after serving the last few years during the pandemic,” he added.

Indeed, through June 185 CEOs have retired, 23.9% of all CEO exits this year. That’s compared to 159 CEOs who retired during the same period in 2021, 24.7% of all exits at the time.

Industries Seeing the Most CEO Exits

Government/Non-Profit entities lead all industries in CEO turnover with 174 so far this year, followed by Technology companies with 80. Technology firms saw 17 exits last month, the second-highest industry in June after 20 in the Government/Non-Profit sector.

Why are CEOs leaving?

Sixteen CEOs stepped down into other high-level roles within the organization for a total of 199. These CEOs usually serve as the companies Chair or advisor to the new CEO. Another 53 CEOs left for new opportunities, with 14 in June.

Over a Quarter of Incoming CEOs Are Women

The rate of women taking over the incoming CEO role remained unchanged at 26% so far in 2022, up slightly from the 24% of incoming women who made up new CEOs through the same period in 2021.

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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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