- During the first three quarters of 2019, 1,160 CEOs left their positions, according to the staffing firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas.
- This figure exceeds the number of CEOs who departed during the same nine-month span at the height of the 2008 recession (which saw 1,132 CEO departures).
- The tech sector has seen the second-highest number of CEO departures, with 154 executives in that industry leaving their positions.
- In the first week of December, four CEOs announced their resignations: Susan Desmond-Hellmann at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Oscar Munoz at United Airlines, Larry Page at Alphabet, and Mark Okerstrom at Expedia.
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More than 1,000 CEOs stepped down during the first three quarters of 2019, according to a report published by the staffing firm Challenger, Gray, & Christmas – 1,160 executives, to be exact.
Departures in the first nine months of this year exceeded the number of CEOs who stepped down during the first three quarters of 2008 (1,132), which was the height of the Great Recession. This is also the year with the highest CEO turnover in the first three quarters that Challenger, Gray, & Christmas has seen since the firm began tracking departures in 2002.
On October 22, the heads of Under Armour and Nike announced within hours of each other that they were stepping down. On November 1, the McDonald’s board voted to fire CEO Steve Easterbrook over his relationship with an employee. Gap CEO Art Peck stepped down on November 7 after 15 years at the company.
SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan resigned from the company on November 26, which a spokesperson told Business Insider was a “mutual agreement” between the board of SoulCycle and Whelan. Whelan originally joined the company in 2012 as its COO and rose to CEO in 2015.
The first week of December has already seen four major CEO exits.
On Tuesday, Google cofounder Larry Page stepped down as CEO of Alphabet. Page is being succeeded by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Page will remain on Alphabet’s board of directors. On Wednesday, Expedia CEO Mark Okerstrom – who had succeeded former CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as the company’s top executive in 2017 – stepped down.
On Thursday, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz announced he would be stepping down as CEO in May 2020 and assuming the role of chairman of the board. On the same day, Susan Desmond-Hellmann announced she would be stepping down as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Of the CEOs who left their positions during the first three quarters, 438 remained at their respective companies in different roles, 292 retired, and 103 moved to other companies, according to the report, which listed several other reasons for departures as well.
Here are the 35 most noteworthy CEO departures of 2019 thus far:
35. Susan Desmond-Hellmann — Gates Foundation
34. United Airlines — Oscar Munoz
33. Expedia — Mark Okerstrom
32. Alphabet — Larry Page
31. SoulCycle — Melanie Whelan
30. Gap — Art Peck
29. McDonald’s — Steve Easterbrook
28. Wells Fargo — Tim Sloan
27. David’s Bridal — Scott Key
Source: Wall Street Journal
26. Overstock — Patrick Byrne
25. Under Armour — Kevin Plank
24. Care.com — Sheila Lirio Marcelo
Source: Wall Street Journal
23. AutoNation — Carl Liebert
Read more: AutoNation replaces new CEO with a new CEO
22. PG&E — Geisha Williams
Read more: PG&E says CEO Geisha Williams steps down
21. Kraft Heinz — Bernardo Hees
20. Blue Apron — Brad Dickerson
19. HP — Dion Weisler
18. UnitedHealthcare — Steve Nelson
17. Guess — Victor Herrero
Read more: Guess CEO Victor Herrero to step down
16. Mozilla — Chris Beard
15. Boingo Wireless — Dave Hagan
Source: Yahoo Finance
14. REI — Jerry Stritzke
13. Bed, Bath & Beyond — Steven Temares
12. Mattress Firm — Steve Stagner
11. Warner Bros. — Kevin Tsujihara
10. Rite Aid — John Standley
9. Burlington Stores — Tom Kingsbury
8. Best Buy — Hubert Joly
Read more: Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly steps down
7. New York Post — Jesse Angelo
6. Colgate-Palmolive — Ian Cook
Source: Financial Times
5. MetLife — Steven Kandarian
4. eBay — Devin Wenig
3. Juul — Kevin Burns
2. Nike — Mark Parker
1. WeWork — Adam Neumann