In August 2018, 154 chief executives at American companies left their job — the most of any month on record, according to management consulting firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas. While many departed on good terms, leaving for another company or retiring, others stepped down amid scandals or were forced out by their board of directors on a no-confidence vote. The record-high CEO turnover rate is partially a reflection of the pressures that come with the top job: in good times and bad, the buck often stops at the CEO.
The specific responsibilities of a CEO vary from company to company. Still, as the highest-ranking managers, the decisions CEOs make can have serious consequences, affecting the lives of thousands of employees, investors, and even consumers.
This year, there were many high-profile chief executives who stood out. Many of them, like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Dollar General’s Todd Vasos, took their companies to new heights, often bucking market trends.
In other cases, CEOs were in the spotlight for poor leadership, ethically questionable business decisions, or morally ambiguous, sometimes reprehensible, personal actions. Often, these mistakes resulted in sales declines, share price drops, and even bankruptcy.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed a number of measures related to corporate performance in addition to media reports to identify America’s biggest CEO winners and losers of 2018. We only considered CEOs of highly visible companies.