CEO turnover declined for the third consecutive month from last year’s pace, according to a survey by Chicago-based global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc.
Ninety-nine CEOs announced their departures in May compared to 103 a year ago. But while CEO turnover was down, the May total was up slightly from April, when 90 CEOs left their posts. Overall, the report found, the year to date has seen 510 CEO departures, up slightly from the 493 CEO exits tracked for the same period last year.
The most high-profile CEO departure last month was Scott Thompson’s resignation from Yahoo following accusations that he had falsified his resume. He was the company’s third CEO in as many years.
The heaviest CEO turnover last month was seen in the health care and government/non-profit sectors with 19 changes each. The health sector leads all industries in CEO turnover for 2012 with 99, an increase of 39 percent through May of 2011.
The government and non-profit sector has seen 75 CEO changes so far in 2012, a 21 percent increase from the 62 from the comparable period last year. Eleven computer sector CEOs announced their departures in May, bring the total year-to-date to 51.
The year-to-date total for resignations is 143, the most oft-cited reason for departure, the report found. Another 110 CEOs have retired this year to date, while 86 “stepped down” from their current posts and took another position within the company, most commonly as a board member. Sixty-two found new positions in other companies, while 32 saw their interim periods end. Fourteen were removed, while seven departed because of a scandal.
With mergers and acquisitions on the rise during the prolonged economic recovery, so does CEO turnover. Twenty-one CEOs left their post due to an acquisition or merger this year to date, compared to 17 at this point last year. Two years ago, only five CEOs left their posts due to mergers and acquisitions through the first five months of the year.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.