CEOs are leaving companies at a record pace

By Nicholas Sakelaris

Nov. 6 (UPI) -- CEOs are leaving companies at a record pace this year, and October set a new single-month record for turnover, analysis by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. found.

The report found 172 CEOs left their jobs in October. In the year to date, 1,332 CEOs have left their jobs, the highest January-through-October total since the firm started tracking executive turnover in 2002. That's 13 percent higher than the 1,176 CEOs who left during the same period last year.


Six CEOs left after allegations of professional misconduct. October's numbers don't count McDonald's CEO and President Steve Easterbrook, who left the company abruptly Sunday for having a relationship with an employee.

"October was marked by a number of high-profile CEO exits, with many being held accountable for various missteps, whether in their professional handling of the company or in their personal lives," Vice President Andrew Challenger said in a statement. "That said, we've seen the majority of CEOs leaving amid normal succession plans. Meanwhile, after a decade of expansion, companies that started 10 years ago are finding themselves in a place where new leadership is needed."


Other companies are adapting to changing technologies or finding new leadership based on economic conditions and forecasts for 2020.

The second-highest CEO turnover was recorded in 2008, when 1,257 executives had left their job at this point in the year. That's 6 percent below the 2019 year-to-date total.

The majority of the turnover was in the government/nonprofit sector, up 25 percent year to date. The technology sector had the second-highest turnover, up 24 percent from last year. Financial companies were the third, followed by pharmaceutical companies, industrial goods manufacturers, energy firms, food companies and healthcare/products companies.

Economists predict CEO turnover could be worse in 2020, especially if there's another recession.

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