CEO Turnover Holds Steady in May
By Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
99 CEO CHANGES, DOWN FROM YEAR AGO
CHICAGO, June 6, 2012 – For the third consecutive month, turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers declined from last year’s pace, as 99 CEOs announced their departures in May compared to 103 in May 2011, according to the latest report on CEO turnover released Wednesday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
While the number of CEO departures was lower than a year ago, the May total was up slightly from April, when 90 CEOs left their posts. Overall, a total of 510 CEO departures have been recorded so far this year, virtually even with the 493 CEO exits tracked the first five months of 2011.
Both health care and the government/non-profit sectors saw the heaviest CEO turnover in May with 19 changes each. The health sector leads all industries in CEO turnover for the year with 99, 39 percent more than the 71 health sector CEO changes through May of last year.
The second-ranked government and non-profit sector has seen 75 CEO changes so far this year, a 21 percent increase from the 62 through this point last year. Eleven CEOs in the computer sector announced their departures in May, bringing the five-month total for the sector to 51.
Last month, 25 CEOs announced their resignations, bringing the year-to-date total for resignations to 143, the most oft-cited reason for departure. Another 110 chief executives retired this year, while 86 “stepped down” from their current posts into some other position within the company, usually as a board member. Sixty-two found new positions in other companies, while 32 saw their interim periods end.
As merger and acquisition activity increases in the recovery, so do the number of resulting CEO departures. Twenty-one CEOs exited their posts due to an acquisition or merger this year, compared to 17 at this point last year. These numbers are much greater than in 2010, when just 5 CEOs left their posts due to mergers and acquisitions through the first five months of the year.
The major announcement in May came from Yahoo as Scott Thompson, the company’s third CEO in as many years, left his post. His resignation came 10 days after Daniel Loeb, head of Yahoo’s largest shareholder Third Point LLC, accused him of padding his resume with fake or exaggerated credentials, specifically a degree in computer science. Yahoo!’s Media Chief Ross Levinsohn will take over on an interim basis.