CEO exits eclipsed their highest rate yet year-to-date, according to May report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
So far in 2022, 518 CEOs have left their roles across industries, including healthcare. That represents the highest total CEO changes from January through April since Challenger, Gray & Christmas began tracking in 2002.
Among hospital chiefs, 36 have left their roles year to date, compared to just 20 during the same time period in 2021. Within the healthcare/products sector, 46 CEOs have left their roles year to date, the report found. That compares to 63 departures during the same time period last year. Additionally, there have been 10 CEO changes in the pharmaceutical sector this year, compared to just three last year.
The CEO turnover comes as the Great Resignation has been defined by an unprecedented rate of employee turnover across industries. There were 440 CEO exits announced at this time last year, which means CEO turnover is up 18% year over year. It’s also elevated above the 513 exits announced in the same time period in 2019.
“Many companies are making changes at the top to address rising costs for both business and consumers,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said in the report. “Inflation, staffing shortages and possible recession concerns are giving more cause for companies to reevaluate leadership. This, after years of companies trying to figure out the right formula to attract and retain talent and create a culture of inclusion, issues that often start at the top.”
Among the departures, 30 CEOs retired during April, making the total for the year 122. Another 150 CEOs stepped into other high-level roles within the company, such as chair or advisor to the CEO. Nine CEOs left for new opportunities during the month, adding to the year-to-date total of 36 in 2022. This follows a similar trend in the labor market, as an estimated three million people retired early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bloomberg reported at the end of 2021.
“Retirements and new opportunities are occurring at every level of organizations right now, and the CEO role is not immune,” said Challenger.
Women have taken over CEO roles at a 26% higher rate in 2022 compared to 2021, “ holding steady from the rate of incoming women CEOs in all of 2021,” the report noted.
One-fifth of the outgoing CEOs this year have been women, compared to 16% of the 440 CEOs who left their roles during the first quarter of 2021. For all of 2021, 19.6% of the CEOs who left their roles were women.