CEO Turnover Highest In a Decade

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jan 10, 2019

Last year, more CEOs left their positions than at any other time since 2008, according to a recent report from outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. The firm said that there were 1,452 CEO changes in 2018, which is 25.2 percent higher than the 1,160 who left in 2017 and just short of the record set in 2008 of 1,484. The final quarter in particular saw much higher figures than the same time period last year: 425 CEO changeovers versus 294, a 44.6 percent difference. The report said that the turnover is in response to an increasingly uncertain business environment, citing factors such as stock market volatility, trade concerns and a changing regulatory environment. 

"“Boards are anticipating a changing environment and putting leadership in place who are capable of succeeding in it,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray and Christmas. 

The report also cited a growing willingness to enforce policies regarding relationships and ethics, saying that eight CEOs left amid sexual misconduct allegations and another four left due to allegations of professional misconduct. However, the most common reason for leaving, accounting for 27 percent of all CEO departures last year, was retirement. 

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