CEO exits at 21-year high

Companies announced 1,104 CEO exits in the first seven months of 2023, with 100 occurring in hospitals.

The finding comes from an Aug. 24 report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive coaching firm that examines CEO turnover in the U.S. each month. 

The 100 moves within hospitals through July this year were up 56 percent from the 64 recorded during the same period in 2022. The number includes 18 CEO exits in July, an increase from two in June and nine in July 2022. Also of note: The 100 moves within hospitals through July is nearing 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 1,104 CEO exits recorded in the first seven months of 2023 were up 33 percent from the 832 CEOs who left their posts in the same period in 2022. It is the highest total in the first seven 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 seven months of 2023: government and nonprofits (277), technology (112), hospitals (100), and healthcare and healthcare products (91).

"As layoffs slow, we're beginning to see an increased pace of changes at the top," Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in the report. "As staffing needs and hiring normalizes, boards are looking for leadership with staying power." 

Across all industries, a number of CEOs (251) retired in the first seven months of 2023, while another 41 took on other positions in their respective companies. Another 364 companies did not give reasons for CEO exits. 

Within hospitals, while some CEOs are exiting their roles, others are extending their tenures, including Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital CEO John Couris. Mr. Couris has extended his tenure as CEO through the next decade. 

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