91 October CEO Changes Led By Finance, Tech

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers dropped to an 11-month low in October, as 91 CEO changes were announced during the month, according to the latest report released Wednesday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

October CEO exits were down 15.7 percent from 108 in September.  Last month’s total was 12 percent higher than the 81 announced in October 2010.  This marks the sixth time this year that CEO changes were higher than the corresponding month in 2010.

Despite the fact that six out of ten months saw higher CEO turnover than a year ago, the total number of departures recorded this year remains slightly below the 2010 pace.  So far, Challenger has tracked 1,013CEOdepartures, 3.3 percent fewer than the 1,048 CEO changes announced from January through October last year.

Financial and computer firms saw the heaviest CEO turnover activity last month, with each having 13 announced departures.  The two represent the third and fourth-ranked sectors for the year with 109 and 101 CEO changes, respectively.

The government and non-profit sector had the second-highest monthly total in October with 11 departures, bringing the year-to-date total for these organizations to 127.   The health care sector has seen the highest number of CEO changes, with 156 this year, including eight departures last month.

While technology firms have not had the highest turnover month to month, they recently have seen some of the most notable leadership changes.  October was no exception as computer giant IBM announced that long-time executive Virginia Rometty would replace Sam Palmisano as CEO.  Rometty, who has worked in a variety of roles during her 30 year career with IBM, is the first woman to hold the title of CEOat the company.

IBM was not the only firm last month to appoint its first woman CEO. Cannonsburg, PA-based pharmaceutical company Mylan Inc. replaced outgoing CEO Robert Coury with Heather Bresch.   In fact, five firms named their first woman CEO this year, according to Challenger tracking.  Furthermore, of the 818 CEO replacements recorded so far this year, 101 females have taken over the CEO role, 11 on an interim basis.

View the full report here.

Firms with first woman CEO:


Date Outgoing CEO Company Replacement


Tim Kubli Bank or RioVista Virginia Varela


Charles F. MacCormack Save The Children Carolyn Miles


Clayton Hering Norris Beggs & Simpson Cos. L. Jan Robertson


Sam Palmisano IBM Virginia Rometty


Robert Coury Mylan Inc. Healther Bresch


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