CEO Exits Drop Almost 12% to a Multiyear Low for August

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Chief executive officer departures fell 11.9% in August, with 96 CEOs leaving their posts last month, down from 109 from the same month a year ago, according to a report released Wednesday by Chicago-based global outplacement consultancy and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The August number for CEO exits was the lowest for that month since at least 2010.

So far this year, 765 CEOs have announced their exits, down 7.2% from the 825 CEOs who left their roles in the first eight months of 2016.

Although CEO departures are down through the first eight months, certain sectors have seen an uptick in executive exits. Executive departures from companies involved in commodities — mining and metals — increased 900% this year (10 compared with one) while the service sector recorded a 200% increase in CEO changes, rising to 81 from 27.

The government/nonprofit sector leads all industries this year with 117 departures through August. However, this is a drop from 134 CEOs, or 12.7%, in this sector who left their posts through August last year. The service sector had 81 departures, 66% more than the 27 CEOs who left service sector posts in the first eight months of 2016. Both government/nonprofit and the service sector led CEO departures in August, with 18 each.

Hospitals posted the third-highest number of CEO departures this year, with 75, which is 23% fewer than the 98 hospital CEOs who left their posts through August of last year. Financial CEOs followed, with 72 in 2017, a 31% fall off from the 105 financial sector CEOs who left by this point in August 2016.

Challenger Gray looked at 25 business categories for its executive departure report.

Moving on to another company was cited by about 32% of the departing CEOs as the reason for leaving a firm. Retirement accounted for 26% of the overall exits.

CEO departures are averaging just over 95 per month through August. At that pace, 1,147 CEO departures would occur this year, which would be the lowest total since at least 2010.