101 CEOs Exit in August

It has been a volatile year for chief executive officer turnover.
The trend was further demonstrated in August as 101 CEO changes were recorded during the month, marking a 20 percent decline from a nine-month high of 126 in July.
The August total is the second lowest of the year, according to the latest report on CEO turnover released by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
Energy led all industries last month with 15 followed by 14 in the computer industry and 13 in health care. For the year, health care CEOs lead all sectors in turnover with 134, followed by the government/non-profit sector with 100. The computer sector has 88, while the technology sector as a whole – computer, telecommunication, electronics and e-commerce combined – has seen 153 CEO changes this year.
The 101 CEO changes announced in August were 30 percent lower than the 144 announced in the same month a year ago. This is the sixth time this year that monthly CEO turnover decreased from the same period in 2008.
“While we are still seeing more than 100 CEO exits per month, the pace of turnover has slowed significantly from last year’s record pace. This downward trend is likely to continue for the remainder of the year, as companies try to maintain their footing and stabilize operations after a stormy economic climate,” said John Challenger, Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO. “However, it is possible that turnover among CEOs will increase in 2010, as some companies respond to the recovery by installing more growth-oriented leadership.”
The aerospace/defense sector saw a high-profile retirement last month in Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Scott Carson whose 787 Dreamliner program has taken considerable heat since pushing back the original 2007 flight date. He will be replaced by Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
The most common reason for August CEO departures was resignation, accounting for 25 of the 101 exits. Meanwhile, 22 retired, including Boeing’s Carson. Nineteen stepped down into other positions within the company, primarily as Chairman or board member. Ten found new positions in other companies, while 5 found another position within the company, usually heading another unit or division.
For the year, CEO departures total 834, down 16 percent from 2008, when 992 CEO changes were announced between January and August.

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