US-based firms announced 119 CEO changes in March, down 21.2% from February, up 6.3% year-over-year; 395 CEOs have left their posts year-to-date, up 29% from the same period a year ago: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

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April 25, 2022 (press release) –

2022 Q1 CEO Turnover Up 29% YOY

First quarter CEO exits rose 29% from the same quarter in 2021, with 395. It is the highest quarterly total since Q1 2020, when 441 CEO exits were recorded, according to a report by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

In March, 119 CEOs left their positions, a 6.3% increase from the 112 CEO exits recorded in the same month last year. It is 21.2% lower than the 151 CEOs who left their positions in February. So far this year, 395 CEOs have left their posts, up 29% from the 307 who changed position in the first quarter of 2021. First quarter exits are up 14.2% from the 346 exits recorded in the final quarter of 2021. Related: March 2021 CEO Changes Jump To 112.

“A high rate of Americans are quitting their jobs each month, and CEOs are no exception. Meanwhile, inflation concerns may have some boards looking to new leadership to weather the coming storm,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Twenty-seven CEOs retired last month for a total of 92 so far this year, while 28 CEO stepped into other high-level roles within the company, usually as a Chair or advisor to the CEO. Another 8 CEOs left for new high-level roles within the company, usually as a Chair or advisor to the CEO. Another 8 CEOs left for new opportunities, for a total of 21. Related: February 2022 CEO Report: Exits Jump 42 percent.

Females in the Top Spot
The rate of women taking over the incoming CEO role ticked up to 26% so far in 2022, up from 25% in the first quarter of 2021. Of outgoing CEOs, through March, 21% of the 395 CEOs who left their posts were women, compared to 16.3% of the 307 CEOs who left their posts in the first quarter of 2021. In all of 2021, 19.6% of CEOs who left their posts were women.

Industries with the most turnover
Government/Non-Profit entities led CEO turnover in March with 35, for a total of 91 so far this year. That is a 75% increase over the same period in 2021, when 52 CEOs left their posts in this sector.

Technology companies saw 38 CEO changes in the first quarter, up 27% from the 30 who left their posts in this industry in the first quarter of 2021. Health Care firms saw 34 CEOs leave their posts, down 17% from the 41 CEO exits in Q1 2021.

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