1,480 chief executives departed this year: Another five to make it a record year

October and November combined saw 320 chief executives stepping down from their post

In a year that saw the biggest of companies going for wide-scale reshuffle at their top management, a record number of chief executives resigned from their post or were asked to part with the company. As many as 148 chief executives departed in November making it a record month.

In fact, 2019 has been a year when some of the most prominent chief executives of U.S. companies exited the companies. November certainly was the biggest months in this regard if not the highest. And with another 15 days still left in December, it could well turn out to be a record year for CEO departures.

A year of major exits

Chief Executive Officer
Representational picture Pixabay

November alone saw the departure of 148 chief executives across companies in the United States. According to business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the first 11 months has seen a record departure of CEOs. The first 11 months, through November, saw 1,480 chief executives leaving their companies.

This also makes it a record for the first 11 months of the year. Moreover, of the total departures 10% were in November. In October as many as 172 chief executives departed their companies, making it a record month. Of the total exits 284 were from public companies, while 1,196 were from private or government organizations.

In 2008, a record 1,484 chief executives parted with their companies. However, the record is likely to be toppled this year with another five exists. Challenger, Gray & Christmas predicts that 2019 is on track to become a record year for CEO departures.

Why are chief executives leaving?

Company meeting (Representational picture) Pixabay

There are quite a few factors behind the departure of company bosses. This may turn out to be a record year but 2018 wasn't any different. Last year, as many as 1,452 chief executives left their companies across the United States. In fact, the last six years has seen a record exit of chief executives, with more than 1,200 leaving companies on average annually.

"Several factors are contributing to the high rate of CEO turnover. One is a strong economy, and high demand for C-level skills are attracting CEOs to new positions. Another is the ongoing uncertainty surrounding trade and regulations while emerging technologies continue to disrupt almost every industry," said Challenger, Gray & Christmas's vice president, Andrew Challenger.

A year of big exits

This year saw some of the big names stepping down from their role of chief executives. Among the recent ones is Alphabet's Larry Page, whose role will be taken over by Google's CEO Sundar Pichai. Co-founder Sergey Brin, who became the CEO of Alphabet along with Page in 2015, too will be stepping aside.

Airbnb's COO Belinda Johnson last month said that she will be stepping down. A week earlier, United Airlines' CEO Oscar Munoz said that he too will be stepping down, while this week Expedia said that its CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerill will step down. Also, Melanie Whelan, chief executive officer of Soulcycle last month said that she has resigned from the company.