Chief executive officers are leaving their posts in record numbers this year, according to a report. Some 1,332 chief executive officers left their posts between January and October, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a business and executive coaching firm.
That’s up 13% from the 1,176 who left during the same period last year, and the highest number since tracking began in 2002. The second-highest number came in 2008, during the Great Recession, when 1,257 CEOs departed. Professional misconduct played a role in some departures. But most were normal succession plans or companies “adapting to changing technologies or finding new leadership based on current economic conditions,” said Andrew Challenger, the firm’s vice president. Gap, McDonald’s, Under Armour and Nike were the latest high-profile companies to replace their CEOs.
The reasons varied, from strategy shifts to a relationship between McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook and an employee that violated company policy. Nike CEO Mark Parker said his successor John Donahoe was “ideally suited to accelerate our digital transformation,” saying it had nothing to do with a recent doping scandal that brought down Nike track coach Alberto Salazar.