March CEO Report: 366 Q1 Exits, Most Since Q3 2008

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers rose 9.8 percent in March, as 123 CEOs left their posts during the month. Last month’s departures brings the first-quarter total to 366, the most in a single quarter since 408 left their posts in the third quarter of 2008, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The quarterly total was 18.4 percent higher than the same period a year ago when 309 CEO exits were announced, and 23.4 percent higher than the previous quarter, when 297 CEO changes took place.

Healthcare was the leading sector in CEO changes last quarter with 86, 31 of which occurred in March. Government/Non-Profit entities announced 50 CEO departures last quarter, and computer firms followed with 40.

Get the full report here.


February CEO Turnover Report: 112 CEOs Out


Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers declined 14.5 percent in February, as 112 CEOs left their posts during the month. While last month’s total was down from 131 CEO departures in January, it was the heaviest February turnover since 2010 when 132 changes were recorded, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The February total was 1.8 percent higher than the same month a year ago when 110 CEO exits were announced.  To date, 243 CEO changes have been announced in 2014, which is nine percent more than the 223 tracked in the first two months of 2013.

See the full report.

Year-End CEO Report: 1,246 CEO Changes in 2013

The most notable announcement in December came from General Motors which announced that retiring CEO Dan Akerson will be replaced by Mary Barra, the company’s first female CEO, and in fact, the first female CEO of a global auto maker.

According to Challenger’s data, 159 female CEOs left their posts in 2013. Of those, 44 were replaced by other women. Of the 1,087 men who left their posts last year, 116 were replaced by women, while 746 were replaced by other men.  This is a slight improvement over last year, when 148 women left the CEO role, and 136 rose to the top spot.  

Read the full report here.

CEO Turnover Hits 94 In November

After four consecutive months in which departures among the nation’s chief executive officers totaled more than 100, the pace of turnover declined somewhat in November, with 94 CEOs announcing their exits during that month.  That is 9.6 percent fewer than the 104 who left their post in October, according to a report released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Read the full report here.

Twitter Trouble: Recent Exec Firing Reminder To Think Before You Tweet

The firing this week of Pax Dickinson, the chief technology officer of online news site Business Insider, for comments he made on Twitter, should serve as a powerful reminder that social media should be treated with great care. 

“Social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are revolutionary tools that can help individuals build their own personal brand.  There are many benefits to using these sites as a way to further one’s job search and/or career.  However, there is a fine line between establishing an online image that can boost your professional reputation and one that can ruin it,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The fact that Dickinson’s comments were his own personal musings and in no way related to his employer or his position with the company was of little consequence once the tweets were brought to the employer’s attention.   Business Insider was put in the position of either defending Dickinson or letting him go. 

One could argue that Dickinson’s tweets were taken out of context.  However, that is the primary problem with social media; 140 characters does not really allow for context.  Besides lacking context, posts on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn do not lend themselves to nuanced communication or interpretation, such as satire, parody, sarcasm or irony.  A handful of one’s closest friends and followers might get the joke, but the majority is likely to misinterpret the intended meaning.

“So, why take the chance?  If Twitter serves as some type of cathartic outlet, then post under a pseudonym or as your alter-ego.   Otherwise, refrain from posting anything you would not say in front of a job interviewer, board of directors or religious leader,” said Challenger. 

The wrong tweet can not only get you fired, but it can also prevent you from finding a new job.  A recent survey by found that 43 percent of hiring managers who research job seekers via social media found information that caused them to eliminate a candidate from consideration.  Half of the respondents indicated it was an inappropriate photo or statement that sealed the candidate’s fate.

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Challenger provided the following guidelines when it comes to managing one’s social media presence for the purposes of job search and/or career advancement:

Remember The Goal

All of your social media activity boils down to one objective, which is to pave the way for a face-to-face introduction. Keep your eyes on the prize as you have fun making new virtual connections.

Post Regularly

Post or tweet no less than once a week, and no more than three times a day. Social media sites will send you an update once a week or once a day; you can use that email as a reminder to log in and tweet, post, or contribute to a group discussion. Alternatively, set up a calendar reminder for yourself.

Personalize Requests

  • When possible, always send a personal note along with a connection request. Refrain from using stock messages such as, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”.  
  • When requesting an introduction, write a note to your mutual connection and then a separate note to the person you want to meet. In both cases, draft a compelling subject line and a short introduction that explains why you hope to connect.

Be Tactful in Follow-Up

There is no guarantee that everyone you want to connect with will want to connect with you. If you haven’t heard from a potential connection, send a reminder note 10 days after the initial request. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to move on to people who are more interested or responsive.

Interact Often

Consider congratulating your connections on accomplishments or commenting on articles they post. Contributing positively to your connections’ activity encourages them to do the same for you.

Be Professional

  • Use an appropriate picture for your profile (no pets, quirky backgrounds or funny expressions).
  • Your profile information should reflect the content of your cover letter and/or resume. The writing can be a little less formal, but proper grammar, spelling and proofreading are essential. Refrain from using abbreviations or emoticons.
  • Be totally truthful and never stretch the facts — remember that your profile is public.

Be Responsive

While logging in to each account daily is ideal, what’s most important is that you maintain a consistent presence and respond to messages, connection requests, and tweets in a timely fashion.

Be Diplomatic

Never be too direct. Asking your contacts for a job flat-out is neither polite nor appropriate.  Instead, request an in-person courtesy or informational interview, after you’ve established an online relationship.

Join Groups

  • The number of groups you belong to on LinkedIn and Facebook should reflect the number of professional affiliations you have (or want to have) in real life. For instance, if you attended college, were an accounting major and love social media, it would be great to join your alumni group, an accounting group or two and a social media group or two.
  • To get the most benefit from group participation, quality trumps quantity.


113 CEO Changes in August Include Microsoft, Groupon, US Steel Announcements


CEO Departures by Industry

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers remained elevated in August as 113 planned CEO departures were reported, including notable retirement announcements from Steve Ballmer at Microsoft and John Surma at U.S. Steel Corp.

While the 113 departures recorded in August is above the year-to-date average (105), the monthly total was 11.7 percent lower than July, when CEO changes reached a three-year high of 128,  according to the latest report on CEO turnover released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The August total was up 8.7 percent from the 104 CEO exits recorded in August of last year.  This marks the fifth month this year that CEO changes were higher than the corresponding period from a year ago.

Challenger has now tracked 842 CEO changes so far this year, 5.8 percent more than the 796 recorded in the first eight months of 2012. 

Last month saw a major announcements from tech-giant Microsoft, whose CEO Steve Ballmer announced he would leave amid falling sales and charges that the company is slow to adapt to mobile markets and tablet PCs. Investors reacted positively to the news, as it increased share prices.  Meanwhile, Chicago start-up-turned-public-offering Groupon announced that Eric Leftkofsky would continue at the helm after taking over as interim CEO for Andrew Mason in February. Co-CEO Ted Leonsis will remain Chairman.

“Neither Microsoft nor Groupon had a firm succession plan for replacing Ballmer and Mason.  This is not uncommon, but it could prove costly in the long run, as companies must first struggle to fill the void in leadership and then traverse a volatile period of adjustment that typically occurs following such a significant change,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.  

Get the full report here.

July 2013 CEO Turnover Surges to 128

Turnover among the nation’s chief executive officers surged to the highest level in more than three years last month as 128 announced their departures.  The July total was up 36 percent from the 94 CEO exits recorded in June, according to the latest report on CEO turnover released Wednesday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

July departures increased 54.2 percent from a year ago, when 83 CEO changes were recorded.  It was the highest monthly total since February 2010, when 132 CEOs left their posts.

Challenger has now tracked 729 CEO changes so far this year, 5.3 percent more than the 692 recorded in the first seven months of 2012.  It is the first time in 2013 that the year-to-date total exceeds the number of departures from the comparable period in 2012. Continue reading