CEO turnover hits record high

Companies announced 1,261 CEO exits in the first eight months of 2023, with 116 occurring in hospitals.

The finding comes from a Sept. 26 report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive coaching firm that examines CEO turnover in the U.S. each month. 

The 116 moves within hospitals from January through August this year were up 66 percent from the 70 recorded during the same period in 2022. The number includes 16 CEO exits in August, an increase from six in August 2022. Also of note: The 116 moves within hospitals through August is above the 103 moves within hospitals that occurred throughout all of 2022. Hospitals recorded 112 CEO exits in 2021.

Across all 29 industries and sectors measured, the 1,261 CEO exits recorded in the first eight months of 2023 were up 41 percent from the 895 CEOs who left their posts during the same period in 2022. It is the highest total in the first eight months of the year since Challenger, Gray & Christmas began tracking CEO exits in 2002. The following sectors topped all industries for CEO changes in the first eight months of 2023: government and nonprofits (325), technology (129), hospitals (116), and healthcare and healthcare products (102).

"Some indicators suggest the economy might be slowing somewhat, and with the rise in labor costs and potential uncertainty, companies might be looking for new leadership," Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in the report. 

Across all industries, a number of CEOs (288) retired in the first eight months of 2023, while 207 stepped down and 44 took on other positions in their respective companies. Another 404 companies did not give reasons for CEO exits. 

Within hospitals, while some CEOs are exiting their roles, others are extending their tenures, including LouAnn Woodward, MD. Dr. Woodward extended her contract to lead Jackson-based University of Mississippi Medical Center for four more years. Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital CEO John Couris also has extended his tenure as CEO into the next decade.

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