In addition to inflation, recession worries, and adapting to artificial intelligence, top U.S. companies now have to worry about record levels of CEO turnover.
- In May, 224 U.S. CEOs left their positions, a 52% increase from April when 147 CEOs departed and 49% higher than May last year, Fortune reports.
- In all, 789 CEOs have left their companies this year. In the first five months of 2022, 668 CEOs departed, meaning this year has seen a record number of CEO vacancies.
- Executive outplacement and coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which conducted the study, did not identify a specific cause for the increased departure rates but suggested that the challenging economic climate could be a factor.
Why it’s news
The American workplace has changed significantly over the last three years, and for some CEOs, it may be time to move on to other endeavors. Challenger, Gray & Christmas senior VP Andrew Challenger blames the departure rate on burnout.
“CEOs are answering to demands for remote and hybrid work, the effects of worker burnout and talent shortages, calls for increased diversity and mental health support as well as a difficult-to-predict economic picture,” he says to Fortune.
A more difficult business climate may also be a contributing factor. “Companies are dealing with some uncertainty heading into the second half of the year surrounding recession concerns, disruptive technology, and high interest rates,” Challenger says.
Companies do not often give a detailed explanation for a CEO’s departure. Challenger, Gray & Christmas determined that 226 of the CEOs who left this year did not give a reason for their exit. Around 182 retired, 168 stepped down or resigned, 40 pursued a new position, 37 simply completed their interim terms, 32 moved to another position within the same company, and 17 had personal reasons for leaving, Fortune reports.
Government and nonprofit organizations had the most CEO departures in May, followed by the technology sector.