U.S.-based employers announced 416 CEOs have left their posts in the first quarter of 2019, 22 percent higher than the 341 CEOs who left their posts during the same period in 2018. Employers in the Government/Nonprofit sector lead all industries in CEO changes with a total of 95 announced changes so far in 2019. This is all contained in a new report released by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
March’s total was 40.6 percent higher than the 96 CEO exits announced in the same month last year. First quarter CEO changes are 2 percent lower than the 425 CEO changes announced in the previous quarter. It is the highest first quarter total since Challenger began tracking CEO changes in 2002.
“We are seeing considerable churn in the chief executive role. Companies are grappling with changing consumer behavior and new technologies disrupting almost all industries,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Challenger tracks CEO changes at companies that have been in business for at least two years, with a minimum of ten employees.
“A difficult business environment, with economic uncertainty, is causing boards to make changes in their leadership ranks,” he added.
Through March, 169 chief executives stepped down into other positions within the company, usually as a Chairperson or other member of the C-Suite. Another 126 CEOs retired, while 34 found new positions in other companies. Three CEOs reportedly left due to scandal, while two left due to professional misconduct allegations. Another two left due to alleged sexual misconduct.