According to a report by executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., more than 1,400 chief executives have left their positions so far this year through September. This is a 50% increase from the same period last year and the highest on record since tracking began in 2002. The government and nonprofit sector had the highest turnover, with over 350 CEOs leaving their posts, followed by the technology sector with over 140 CEOs stepping down. Burnout from the pandemic may be a contributing factor to the increase in CEO departures as executives navigated their organizations through the crisis. The report also notes that companies are preparing for economic changes in the coming months, which could be driving the search for new leaders. While historically CEO turnover is lower during uncertain times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, experts predict an uptick in turnover now that the pandemic is settling down and boards of directors are assessing CEO performance in a challenging economic environment. This could lead to a further increase in CEO departures in the future.
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