CEO Ivory Tower Razed as 2006 Saw Six Departures Per Business Day: Challenger


CEO turnover jumped 12% last year as 1,478 chief executive departures were announced in 2006, surpassing the 2005 record 1,322 CEO departures, according to the year-end CEO Turnover Report released Monday by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the global outplacement consultancy.

On an average, there were six CEO departures each business day or one every 80 minutes in an eight-hour day.

December saw a jump of 16% over November as 131 CEOs left their posts during the last month of the year, compared to 113 in November. December was the eleventh month in 2006 in which more than 100 CEO departures were announced.  

Other Highlights from the Challenegr CEO Turnover Report, 2006:

  • By industry, health care experienced the highest CEO turnover in 2006 at 232, followed by computer industry (168) and financial services (128). 

  • Some 350 CEO resigned while another 320 stepped down from the CEO post, but typically staying with the company, and 176 went to a new position in another company. 345 executives have retired in 2006. 

  • 52% of companies chose internal replacements, while 44% of the vacancies were filled by outsiders and 4.3% were filled by board members.

  • Options backdating scandal claimed only 18 CEOs, with more likely to come in 2007

  • Among the CEO departure announcements reporting length of service, the median tenure was 5.5 years in 2006, down from 7.0 years in 2005.  

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