CEO Departures Rose 35% in December

Departures of chief executive officers were up by 35% in December from November, according to a survey from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas. For the last month of 2010, 107 CEO departures were announced, the largest number since September.

The number for December was slightly above the average per-month departures of 103 recorded in 2010. The total departures for the year amounted to 1,234, seven more than the 1,227 experienced in 2009.

Both 2010 and 2009 departure numbers came in lower than in 2008, when departures totaled 1,484 — the highest since Challenger began tracking the information in 2000.

Sectors most impacted by change during the year included healthcare and government and non-profit, which experienced 201 and 159 departures, respectively. The financial industry was also impacted with 124 departures announced for the year.

As for reasons for the various departures, 388 cited resignation, 306 retired, 204 stepped into another position at the company like chairman or board member, and  a further 124 found new jobs at other companies. Less common was removal or firing, which affected 26 CEOs, while nine left due to scandal, and four left because of board pressure.