August 18, 2009 – Turnover among chief executives soared to its highest level since June 2008, as 126 CEO departures were announced in July, according to a report released by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Despite the surge, CEO departures remain well below 2008 totals. The 126 July departures marked a 20 percent increase from the 105 CEO changes recorded in June. Last month’s total was virtually unchanged from July 2008, when 124 CEOs announced they were leaving their companies. A total of 733 chief executives have left their posts this year, down 14 percent from 848 CEO changes announced during the same period a year ago. Healthcare continues to lead all sectors with 121 departures. The government/non-profit sector followed with 89, as funding for public services dries up. The technology industry – computer, telecommunications, electronics and e-commerce combined – has seen 129 CEO changes this year. Resignation was the leading cause of July CEO departures, as 35 left their posts for this reason. Another 30 retired and 28 stepped down from their posts, usually staying on as the chairman or board member. “Many chief executives are undoubtedly feeling the heat as the economy continues to struggle. C-suite executives, like many workers today, are feeling the brunt of the economy, impacting their drive and morale. While most chief executives cite ‘personal reasons’ for their departures, many may just decide that they’ve had enough, that the exhaustion is too much,” said John A. Challenger, Challenger, Gray CEO.