September Sees 105 CEO Exits

Turnover among chief executive officers remained virtually unchanged in September, as 105 CEOs left their posts, a slight increase from the 101 exits in August, according to the latest report on CEO turnover from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
The September total was 25 percent lower than the 140 CEO exits recorded in September 2008 and marks the seventh month this year that CEO departures were lower than the same month the previous year.
For the quarter that ended September 30, 332 CEOs changes were recorded, 11 percent more than the 298 CEO departures in the second quarter. The third-quarter total was 19 percent lower than the same period a year ago, when 408 CEO changes were announced.
For the year, CEO departures total 939, a 17 percent decline from the 1,132 departures announced through September 2008.
Health care continues to lead all sectors in CEO turnover with 151 departures for the year, as hospitals struggle to find funding and/or shutter operations. The government/non-profit sector, which face slashed budgets and reduced contributions, have also experienced heavy turnover, with 116 departures to date.
Financial sector CEO departures totaled 87 through September, including the announcement by Morgan Stanley that CEO John Mack will step down as CEO at the end of the year. He will remain Chairman.
Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis announced he would retire at the end of this year, two years earlier than previously scheduled as the company integrates Merrill Lynch and Countrywide and positions itself to payback the federal TARP funds.
Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan Chase has restructured executive roles within the company, naming Jes Staley as CEO of its investment arm, replacing co-heads Bill Winters and Steve Black. According to the Wall Street Journal, Winters had previously aspired to replace J.P. Morgan CEO James Dimon, a role that now may be eventually filled by Staley.
“The financial sector is still reeling from the impact of the current recession. Even banks that have done well navigating this recession, such as Chase, are shuffling management in preparation for the future,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“As these financial institutions, as well as organizations across all industries, make the transition from recession to recovery and integrate new business opportunities, regulations and objectives into their plans, succession plans are being reworked to reflect the many changes.”



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