Challenger, Gray & Christmas said 107 chief executive officer departures were announced in September, 12.6 percent more than the 95 announced CEO departures in September 2012, but down 5.6 percent from August 2013, when 113 CEO exits were announced.
With departures trending higher for three months, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the 348 CEO departure announcements in the third quarter is the highest total for a quarter since October through December of 2008, which included 352 CEO exit announcements.
There were 1,484 CEO departures announced in 2008, the most on record. By comparison, this year's total through the third quarter is 949, which is 6.5 percent higher than the first nine months of 2012.
This year won't overtake 2008, however, unless the pace picks up considerably. It would take 178 departure announcements per month through the end of the year to add enough exits to top 2008. So far in 2013, the average CEO departures per month is 105.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas said healthcare companies topped the list for September with 26, giving the business sector 78 for the third quarter, a record for the industry. For the year to date, healthcare firms have announced the exits of 195 CEOs, 47 percent more than the next highest category, which is government and non-profit firms, which have announced 133 CEO departures for the year so far.