CEOs Holding Tighter onto Jobs

April 30, 2002 ( - Chief executive officers aren't headed for the door of the corporate executive suite quite as often these days, a new survey found.

In fact, the 54 CEOs departing their jobs in April represented a 14%-drop from the 63 who left in April 2001, according to the latest monthly survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The downward trend also holds for the first four months of 2002 when 235 CEO departures were announced – a 40%-decline from the same period in 2001.

While there may be fewer corporate heads departing, CEO tenure continued to fall in April with the average length of service dropping to 8.5 years – 27% below March’s service figure.

The technology sector led the way in CEO departures, according to Challenger:

  • in that sector, 12 CEOs left office,    
  • the health sector saw eight CEOs leave, 
  • six exited financial services,   
  • five left retail  
  • computers shed four CEOs,
  • the same number that left the consumer goods sector

According to Challenger, 16 of the April departures resigned, ten retired, two stepped down and two died.