2016 May CEO Report: Exits Drop to 100, Led by Financial, Govt & Non-Profit

Turnover among the nation’s chief executives fell in May as 100 CEO departures were announced during the month. That was down 7 percent from 108 in April, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The May total was 11.1 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when announced CEO departures totaled 90. Last month marked the fourth time this year that departures exceeded the corresponding month last year. It was the fifth time in the last six months that saw 100 or more departures.

To date, 527 CEOs have left their posts in 2016, 8 percent more than the 427 CEOs who exited during the first five months of 2015.

May CEO changes were led by financial firms which announced 21 departures, 11 of whom were from credit unions. So far this year, the financial industry has announced 70 exits, 25 percent more than the 2015 five-month total for the sector of 56.

“While we saw many long-time chiefs leave financial companies, we are also seeing a strategy shift to fin-tech, which brings with it the need for leaders who are able to adapt to new technologies,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The government/non-profit sector announced 15 departures last month, bringing the year-to-date total to 90, 26.7 percent more than the 71 announced through May last year.

“As many states struggle with budget cuts and revenue issues, government agencies and non-profits are dealing with funding losses causing many organizations to suspend operations. Other agencies are bringing in leaders with cost-cutting experience to work with leaner budgets,” noted Challenger.

Hospitals saw 12 CEOs leave their posts, while other health care companies announced 11.

Retirement was the most oft-cited reason for departure in May as 22 chief executives used this reason with 151 occurring year to date. Another 20 resigned, while 19 stepped down into other positions, usually at the C-level or as board chair. Seventeen found new positions in other companies, four of whom are CEOs in their new positions.