2016 August CEO Report: 109 CEOs Out Last Month, Highest Since January

Chief executive officer departures jumped to the second highest level of the year, as 109 CEOs announced their exits during the month, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Last month’s total was 18.5 percent higher than the 92 chief executive officer departures in July. It was the second highest number of departures in 2016, behind January, when exits reached a two-year high of 131.

August turnover was only slightly higher than the same month a year ago, increasing just 2.0 percent from 107 departures.

For the year, 825 CEOs have left their posts, which is virtually unchanged from the 823 CEO exits recorded through August of 2015.

August CEO departures were led by financial firms and government/non-profit entities, both of which announced 18 CEO changes last month. Government/non-profit institutions are leading all industries in CEO changes so far this year with 134, 16 percent more than through August 2015, when 115 were announced.

Computer firms, which include software manufacturers and mobile app developers, announced the third most changes in August with 11, 79 through 8 months.

Hospitals and entertainment/leisure companies recorded the next most CEO changes with 10 apiece. Hospitals have announced 98 CEO changes this year, while entertainment/leisure companies have announced 53.

Barnes & Noble ousted their CEO after less than a year due to underperforming stores. Founder Leonard Riggio will take over the role in the interim. Viacom also ousted CEO Phillippe Dauman after differences with Board Chairman Sumner Redstone.

California and Texas led the country in announced CEO departures in August with 10 each. California companies have announced the most CEO departures this year with 82; Texas follows in yearly CEO departures with 80.

Retirement was the most oft-cited reason for departure so far this year as 235 chief executives used this reason, 30 in August. Another 179 stepped down into other positions, usually at the C-level or as board chair. Ninety-two found new positions in other companies, while 33 were ousted this year.