• 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.

The tech sector has the second-highest number of CEO departures, at 154, including the high-profile departures of Adam Neumann from WeWork and Kevin Burns from Juul.

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.

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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

Foto: sourceLucy Nicholson/Reuters

Read more: The CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates’ multibillion-dollar nonprofit is stepping down


34. United Airlines — Oscar Munoz

Foto: sourceJim Young / Getty Images

Read more: United CEO Oscar Munoz is stepping down and transitioning to chairman in 2020, with president Scott Kirby taking his place


33. Expedia — Mark Okerstrom

Foto: sourceKyodo News Stills/Getty Images

Read more: Expedia’s CEO, who replaced Dara Khosrowshahi, is resigning along with the company’s CFO as part of a leadership shakeup


32. Alphabet — Larry Page

Foto: sourceAndrew Kelly/Reuters

Read more: Alphabet CEO Larry Page and President Sergey Brin are stepping down


31. SoulCycle — Melanie Whelan

Foto: sourceD Dipasupil/Getty Images

Read more: SoulCycle CEO Melanie Whelan has resigned, marking the end of a tumultuous year for the boutique fitness company


30. Gap — Art Peck

Foto: sourceMark Lennihan/AP Images

Read more: Gap CEO Art Peck is stepping down from the company


29. McDonald’s — Steve Easterbrook

Foto: sourceReuters

Read more: McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook was fired over a relationship with an employee


28. Wells Fargo — Tim Sloan

Foto: sourceRichard Drew/AP Images

Source: Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan is retiring


27. David’s Bridal — Scott Key

Foto: Key with the designer Vera Wang.sourceCindy Ord/Getty Images

Source: Wall Street Journal


26. Overstock — Patrick Byrne

Foto: sourceSteven Ferdman/Getty Images

Read more: Overstock founder Patrick Byrne was seemingly involved in a web of intrigue that involved a Russian spy and the FBI


25. Under Armour — Kevin Plank

Foto: sourceBrad Barket/Getty Images

Read more: Kevin Plank is stepping down as CEO of Under Armour


24. Care.com — Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Foto: sourceAlberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Source: Wall Street Journal


23. AutoNation — Carl Liebert

Foto: sourceChris Graythen/Getty Images

Read more: AutoNation replaces new CEO with a new CEO


22. PG&E — Geisha Williams

Foto: sourcePaul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune

Read more: PG&E says CEO Geisha Williams steps down


21. Kraft Heinz — Bernardo Hees

Foto: sourceKeith Srakocic/AP Images

Read more: Kraft Heinz CEO stepping down, Patricio named successor


20. Blue Apron — Brad Dickerson

Foto: sourceUnder Armour

Read more: Blue Apron is soaring after its CEO steps down


19. HP — Dion Weisler

Foto: sourceBusiness Insider/Julie Bort

Read more: The CEO of HP is stepping down ‘due to a family health matter,’ and will be replaced by an exec who started at the company as an intern


18. UnitedHealthcare — Steve Nelson

Foto: sourceUnitedHealthcare

Read more: Interview with Retired UnitedHealthcare CEO Steve Nelson


17. Guess — Victor Herrero

Foto: sourceRachel Murray/Getty Images

Read more: Guess CEO Victor Herrero to step down


16. Mozilla — Chris Beard

Foto: sourceGareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Source: TechCrunch


15. Boingo Wireless — Dave Hagan

Foto: sourceRichard Drew/AP Images

Source: Yahoo Finance


14. REI — Jerry Stritzke

Foto: sourceKevin Wolf/AP Images

Read more: REI leader resigns over undisclosed relationship


13. Bed, Bath & Beyond — Steven Temares

Foto: sourceShoshy Ciment/Business Insider

Read more: Bed Bath & Beyond has a new CEO 5 months after activist investors released a brutal presentation slamming the company’s leadership


12. Mattress Firm — Steve Stagner

Foto: sourcePhelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images

Read more: Mattress Firm Board of Directors Announces the Resignation of Chief Executive Officer


11. Warner Bros. — Kevin Tsujihara

Foto: sourceEmma McIntyre/Getty Images

Read more: Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara is stepping down following a report alleging he had a sexual relationship with an actress and promised to help her get roles


10. Rite Aid — John Standley

Foto: sourceNACDSvid/YouTube

Read more: Rite Aid CEO John Standley To Step Down, Shares Up


9. Burlington Stores — Tom Kingsbury

Foto: sourceDelivering Good/YouTube

Source: MarketWatch


8. Best Buy — Hubert Joly

Foto: sourceHollis Johnson/Business Insider

Read more: Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly steps down


7. New York Post — Jesse Angelo

Foto: sourceBrendan McDermid/Reuters

Read more: News Corp Appoints Sean Giancola As CEO of New York Post


6. Colgate-Palmolive — Ian Cook

Foto: sourceDavid Karp/AP Images

Source: Financial Times


5. MetLife — Steven Kandarian

Foto: sourceTomas Bravo/Reuters

Read more: MetLife names Khalaf CEO, Kandarian to retire


4. eBay — Devin Wenig

Foto: sourceAP Photo/Frank Jordans

Read more: eBay CEO abruptly steps down as the company considers selling off assets


3. Juul — Kevin Burns

Foto: sourceJuul/YouTube

Read more: Juul’s CEO steps down as the e-cig company says it will stop all advertising in the US


2. Nike — Mark Parker

Foto: sourceRick Bowmer/AP Images

Read more: Nike CEO Mark Parker steps down just hours after Under Armour’s chief executive leaves his role


1. WeWork — Adam Neumann

Foto: sourceGetty

Read more: The WeWork IPO fiasco of 2019, explained in 30 seconds