Challenger CEO Turnover Report:
CEO Exits Fall As Companies Set Leadership for Possible Recession

Published November 17, 2022

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies fell 4% from the 74 in September to 71 in October. October’s total is down 50% from the 142 CEOs who left their posts in October 2021, according to a report released Thursday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Challenger Analysis

“Job cut announcements are rising and hiring plans have slowed as we conclude 2022. The Technology sector is seeing the bulk of these layoffs, and it is also where we are seeing a lot of CEO changes, but generally speaking, companies are holding onto their leaders,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Indeed, the Technology sector has seen the second-most CEO exits this year with 118. That is 18% lower than the 144 CEO exits the industry announced through October last year. It follows the Government/Non-Profit sector which announced 219 CEO exits so far this year, a 16% decrease from the 262 CEOs who left their posts in these organizations during the same period last year.

Announced Tech CEO Exits for October 2022

Data from the Challenger CEO Turnover Report, a monthly report of announced CEO exits from US-based companies from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

October 2022 Challenger CEO Report Announced Tech Job Cuts 2021 vs 2022

Data from The Challenger Report, a monthly report on announced layoffs by US-based companies from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, companies have announced 1,040 CEO exits, down 8% from the 1,133 CEOs who left their posts through October 2021. It is the lowest January-to-October total since 2017, when 971 CEO exits were announced.

“At the moment, the labor market is still tight, but companies are preparing for a recession. The leaders who are in place now are the ones companies have chosen to lead the company in at least the short-term,” said Challenger.

Reasons for Departure

Through October, 249 CEOs have retired, an average of nearly 25 per month. This is down from the 278 CEOs who retired through October 2021, an average of nearly 28 per month. Another 246 CEOs stepped down from their CEO role, usually into a Chair or Board position.

Gender in the Top Spot

Fewer women are ascending to the CEO role this year than last, though just slightly. Through October, 26.1% of new CEOs were women or non-binary, compared to 26.87% of new CEOs who were women through the same period last year.

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