US-based firms announced 123 CEO changes in April, up 3.0% from March, down 8.0% year-over-year; 518 CEOs have left their posts year-to-date, up 18% from the same period a year ago: Challenger, Gray & Christmas

Sample article from our Housing & Economy

May 19, 2022 (press release) –

CEO Exits At Highest YTD On Record As Recession Fears Loom, Companies Adjust To Inflation

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies rose 3% to 123 in April from 119 in March. It is 8% lower than the 133 CEO changes announced in the same month in 2021, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

So far this year, 518 CEOs have left their posts, the highest January-April total since the firm began tracking monthly CEO changes in 2002. It is up 18% from the 440 CEO exits announced through April last year, and up slightly from the previous high of 513 exits announced in January through April of 2019.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Challenger Analysis
“Many companies are making changes at the top to address rising costs for both business and consumers,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. 

“Inflation, staffing shortages, and possible recession concerns are giving more cause for companies to reevaluate leadership. This, after years of companies trying to figure out the right formula to attract and retain talent and create a culture of inclusion, issues that often start at the top,” he added.

Thirty CEOs retired last month for a total of 122 so far this year, while 150 CEOs stepped into other high-level roles within the company, usually as a Chair or advisor to the CEO, this year. Another 9 CEOs left for new opportunities, for a total of 36 in 2022.

“Retirements and new opportunities are occurring at every level of organizations right now, and the CEO role is not immune,” said Challenger.

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

Women in the C-Suite
The rate of women taking over the incoming CEO role ticked up to 26% so far in 2022, holding steady from the rate of incoming women CEOs in all of 2021. Of outgoing CEOs, through April, 20% of the 518 CEOs who left their posts were women, compared to 16% of the 440 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 Leadership Change
Government/Non-Profit entities led CEO turnover in March with 27, for a total of 118 so far this year. That is a 53% increase over the same period in 2021, when 77 CEOs left their posts in this sector.

Technology companies saw 47 CEO changes so far this year, followed by Health Care firms with 46. The Services sector had 42 CEOs leave their posts, while Entertainment/Leisure companies saw 37. Financial sector firms saw 31 CEO exits through April.

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