A news release from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said the January figure is the highest since 119 CEO changes were recorded by the firm four years ago. Challenger CEO turnover tracking began its tracking in August 1999, but was suspended between February 2003 and November 2003.
January CEO departures were 64% higher than the 56 announced in December and 84% higher than last January, when 50 chief executives left their posts, according to Challenger.
CEO departures last month were spread across a wide variety of industries with the largest number of turnover occurring in the financial sector (12), health care (11), non-profit (9), and telecommunications (8).
January’s leading cause of turnover was retirement, which accounted for 38% of the 92 departures. While the average age of all departing CEOs was 57.5, the average age of those retiring was 61.