In the final quarter of the year, 297 chief executive officers left their jobs, a 14.6 percent drop from the third quarter, when 348 CEOs departed, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.
For the year, CEO departures were up 2.6 percent with 1,246 exits from the corner office in 2013 compared to 1,214 in 2012, the firm said.
Healthcare firms lost 265 CEOs in the year, leading all business sectors. In a distant second place, government and non-profit firms lost 178 CEOs in 2013.
One of the most startling departures of the year occurred in December with that of General Motors CEO Dan Akerson, who announced his retirement to spend time with family, handing the reins over to Mary Barra, who became GM's first female leader.
Concerning gender, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said 159 female CEOs left their jobs in 2013, 44 of whom were replaced by other women. On the flip side, 1,087 men left CEO jobs in 2013 and 116 of them were replaced by women. That meant the year was a marginal improvement for women with a net gain of one CEO position.