Burnt out CEOs are joining the Great Resignation, too.
CEO turnover rose 29% in the first quarter of 2022, the highest quarterly total since the beginning of the pandemic.
Market volatility and growing social pressures were exhausting for CEOs.
Companies are confident about their prospects this year and are changing up C-suite leadership.
It’s not just frontline employees: CEOs, too, are joining The Great Resignation, a study from global business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found.
According to the study, CEO turnover rose 29% in the first quarter of the year — the highest quarterly total since the onset of the pandemic, when 441 CEO exits were recorded. Mounting tensions, experts say, is the primary cause.
In the past two years, CEOs have led through a pandemic, followed by a mass exodus of employees, an abrupt economic downturn, pressures to take a stand on social issues, and supply-chain issues resulting, in part, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Increased pressures have pushed a record number of CEOs to join The Great Resignation.
In November, a review of nearly 1,000 companies by the US recruiting firm Heidrick & Struggles found 103 had named new CEOs. The study analyzed information from large, publicly traded firms in two dozen countries including the US, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Mexico, and Singapore. The 103 CEO appointments in the first half of 2021 more than doubled the 49 seen in the second half of last year.
Deloitte Consulting CEO Dan Helfrich said, in an earlier interview with Insider, that many Fortune 500 CEOs admit that they are more burnt out than ever. “They’re being forced to deal with their own mental health,” Helfrich said.
A new breed of C-suite executives
The changes in companies’ top ranks aren’t all driven by resignations. However, the resulting reshuffle has compressed a decade’s worth of change into months, Amber Wiseley, Intel’s vice president of global benefits, said in a January interview with Insider.
Of the new CEOs appointed in the first half of 2021, 13% were women — doubling from 6% the year before. New CEOs were also less likely to be US citizens and to have experience in various industries.
The world changed since the departing leaders took office. “It is perhaps no surprise that CEOs appointed over the past year differ significantly from the CEOs they replaced,” according to the Heidrick & Struggles study.
This story was originally published in November 2021.