Challenger Says CEO Exits Pick Up in Q2

July 1, 2002 ( - While year-over-year stats show a downward trend, CEO departures in the second quarter are up from three months ago.

According to statistics kept by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the continuing wave of scandals and general turmoil led to exits by 193 chief executive officers. That was 9% higher than the first quarter.

June, which began with a torrent of executive pink slips, ended with 63 CEO departures, a 21%-drop from May’s five-month high of 80. According to Challenger, 44 top executives got the boot in the first 11 days of June.

Only 13 of June¹s 63 departures announced retirement as the reason.  Nearly half of the departing executives gave no reason while 17 said they had resigned or stepped down.

On a year-to-date basis, 378 CEOs left their jobs, a 32% drop from the same period last year.

Technology firms had the most CEO turnover in June with 12 departures.  It was followed by the service and health sectors, which each had 10 chief executive changes.

“Today, we are seeing more CEOs leaving under a cloud of suspected and/or substantiated wrongdoing,” said Challenger CEO John Challenger. “There are still angry shareholders, but now they are angry for a different reason — it is not just the losses, it is the feeling that they were duped.