CEO Departures Up 15 Percent

May 18, 2010 – Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers declined for the second consecutive month in April, as 101 CEOs announced their departures during the month — 15 percent fewer than the 119 departures in March, according to the latest report on CEO turnover by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. Despite the decline, the April total was 29.5 percent higher than the 78 chief executive changes recorded in April 2009. For the year, 441 CEOs have left their posts, an increase of 14 percent over 2009. The healthcare sector led all industries in CEO turnover in April with 25 departures; so far this year, 81 CEOs have left their posts at companies in the healthcare and healthcare product manufacturing sector. The second-ranked government/nonprofit sector has seen just 57 CEO exits this year, including 12 in April. The financial industry had 11 CEO changes last month, bringing the year-to-date total to 40. Retirement was the leading reason behind April departures, accounting for 30 of the 101 announced exits. Twenty-three CEOs resigned. Retirements and resignations are the most common reasons for departures in 2010, with each cited 125 times. “We have entered what is expected to be a volatile period for CEO turnover. Companies are making the transition from recession to recovery, and with that usually comes a transition in leadership,” said John A. Challenger, CEO. “Not every CEO will leave under pressure from their boards or shareholders. Many simply recognize that they have taken their organization as far as they can or want to and willingly relinquish their leadership role. We just happen to be at a natural crossroads for these types of changes to occur with more frequency.”

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