CEO Departures Rise

By Aliah D. Wright Aug 8, 2014
Turnover among chief executive officers (CEOs) in the United States rose slightly in July 2014, as 105 of these top-level executives announced their departures, according to a new report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a global outplacement consultancy.

The July total was up 1.9 percent from the 103 CEO departures recorded in June, according to a news release, but it was 17.9 percent lower than the 128 CEO changes announced the same month in 2013.

“Perhaps, the most notable CEO announcement in July came from Target, which grabbed headlines by bringing in an outsider as its CEO for the first time in the company’s history,” according to the release. Brian Cornell left the top spot at PepsiCo Americas Foods to helm Target when Gregg Steinhafel left in May after the “the now infamous credit card security breach.”

Dubbed the biggest retail hack in history, some 100 million Target customers were affected when hackers stole customers’ debit and credit card information over the holidays. Profits for the company reportedly plummeted nearly 50 percent.

That breach, of course, will likely pale in comparison to the data breach announced Aug. 6, 2014, in which “a Russian gang reportedly stole 1.2 billion user names and passwords and more than 500 million e-mail addresses from 420,000 websites,” according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Since January 2014, companies based in the United States have revealed 766 CEO changes, 5.1 percent more than the 729 CEO exits tracked from January 2013 through July 2013.

Leading the number of CEO departures are health organizations: 26 chief executives left their posts, totaling 180 through July of this year.

“That is nearly 19.2 percent more than the 151 departures health care organizations announced during the same period last year,” the report states.

Sixteen CEOs left nonprofits, government agencies and companies in the financial industry. Computer companies said seven chief executives departed in July.

According to the release, “California leads all states in CEO departures this year with 102, 14 of which occurred in July.” Texas has so far seen 62 CEO departures this year, and Pennsylvania and Florida each have had 40 departures, while New York has had 39.

Aliah D. Wright is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

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