April CEO Exits Push 4-Month Total to 4-Year High

Paul Ausick

In April 2018, 109 CEOs left their jobs, according to the latest report from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That’s a year-over-year increase of 19.8% and a month-over-month increase of 13.5%. For the first four months of the year, 450 CEOs have left their jobs, 14.8% more than for the same period last year and the highest total since 2014.

In all of 2017, a total of 1,160 CEOs left their jobs, down 7% from the prior year’s total of 1,248. Of the total, 11 were due to allegations of sexual misconduct, up from three in both 2015 and 2016.

CEO John Challenger noted:

Although the economy seems to be booming, companies appear to be readying for change. The increased activity in Government and Non-Profit entities could be due to changing legislation and redistribution of federal funding. Other sectors that have seen an increase in CEO change activity include the Computer industry, which is seeing a number of disruptive technologies, as well as those related to consumer behavior.

The government/nonprofit sector has experienced 87 CEO changes so far this year, of which 23 occurred in April. The total represents a 64% year-over-year increase.

In the computer industry, 58 CEOs have left their positions, including 18 in the month of April. For the first four months of the year, CEO departures are up nearly 71% compared to the same period of last year.

Of the 132 CEOs who have departed in 2018, 132 retired and 60 resigned, while 12 found new positions with other companies. Most of the departing CEOs — 135 — stepped down to other positions in their companies, either as board members or another C-level executive.

California companies saw the highest number of CEO changes this year with 49, 12 of which occurred in April. Companies in Texas saw 12 departures last month, while Florida reported 11.