Biggest CEO turnover year on record; 7.6 CEO exits per business day

A record 152 CEOs left their positions in September, breaking the prior of record of 148 set in May, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm (reports The September record works out to 7.6 CEO exits per business day.
  Jan-Sept'06 Sept'06
Total CEO changes 1,112 152
Resigned or stepped down 517 46%
CEOs retired 275  
CEOs fired 23 8
CEOs retired 275  
A total of 1,112 CEO changes have occurred this year, up 10% from the 1,014 changes announced through September a year ago, setting the stage for 2006 becoming the biggest CEO turnover year on record, according to the study. September’s CEO turnover count was 26% more than the 121 announced in September 2005.

Of the 387 departure announcements made this year in which tenure data were revealed:

  • 28% of the CEOs were on the job for less than three years 
  • 13% held their posts for less than a year (average tenure was less than six months for this group)

517 CEOs have either resigned or stepped down this year. Through September, 275 CEOs have retired. Just 23 have been fired. Of the 152 CEOs who left their jobs in September:

  • 46% resigned or stepped down
  • 22 left to take jobs at other companies
  • 8 CEOs were fired or forced to resign

A few companies have undergone several changes at the top. In September CompUSA named its second CEO in four months. Gateway has had five CEOs in six years.

"Perhaps the only job today that is more tenuous than chief executive is head coach for a professional sports team," said Challenger. "Our most recent survey showed National Football League coaches’ average tenure is 3.8 years."

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