CEOs are stepping down at record-high rates. When you think about the macro factors applying pressure to companies these days, it makes sense why:
- As a result of lockdowns, some companies lost all of their revenue while others benefited
- Employees, en-masse, decided they liked remote work better, forcing companies to go remote or hybrid
- People then started to rethink what they want out of work, leading to The Great Resignation
- Unprecedented money printing (quantitative easing, fiscal stimulus, PPP loans) drove up asset prices, then all-over prices (inflation)
- All along, millions of baby boomers are retiring regardless
These are major, major distortions in how companies operate all happening at once. If I was a 64-year-old CEO myself and all of a sudden my revenue was turned off, then my stock price went up, then the office went away, then my employees wanted to leave, then the stock price rolled over… I may just call it quits myself. I was planning to retire in a few years anyhow.
As a result, we’ve seen loads of CEO exits. According to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc….
“In total, 395 CEOs left their positions during the first quarter of 2022—marking the highest quarterly total since Q1 2020, which had 441 recorded CEO exits.”
In this article, you’ll find every notable CEO stepping down since 2020. We looked at all Fortune 100 companies plus every other CEO exit at companies with 1000+ employees.
CEOs Stepping Down
"Consolidated Edison Inc.'s board said Sept. 17 that John McAvoy, the company's president and CEO and CEO of utility subsidiary Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc., will retire from those positions Dec. 31, though he will continue as chairman of the board of both companies."
"Volkswagen's CEO is leaving his post in a surprise move, effective September 1. The company announced Friday that CEO Herbert Diess will be replaced by Oliver Blume, the head of Volkswagen's Porsche performance car division."
"After 21 years as Mailchimp's co-founder and CEO, I'm stepping down as CEO and moving into a founder-advisor role. Rania Succar, who leads the QuickBooks Money team, will join us as Mailchimp's new CEO."
"XPO Logistics announced Thursday that Mario Harik will be taking over the role of chief executive from Brad Jacobs after the company's spin-off of its high-tech truck brokerage business in the fiscal fourth quarter."
"Carnival's announcement Tuesday that Arnold Donald would step down as CEO of the world's biggest cruise line came after some investors pushed back at a shareholders meeting earlier this month on metrics tied to the 67-year-old's 2021 compensation package of $15 million."
"Today, Cummins Inc. announced that, effective August 1, 2022, Tom Linebarger will end his term as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Jennifer Rumsey, President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), will assume the role of President and CEO."
"Gap CEO Sonia Syngal is stepping down, effective immediately, the company announced on Monday, as the apparel retailer battles supply chain challenges and slumping sales."
"PG&E Corp. Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson, who was hired to steer the California power giant through the biggest-ever U.S. utility bankruptcy, will retire in June when the company is expected to exit Chapter 11."
Republic First Bancorp Inc.
"Vernon Hill stepped down as the head of Republic First Bancorp Inc. after a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a rival faction fighting to take over the company's board and oust the controversial banker."
Bed Bath & Beyond
"Bed Bath & Beyond Inc on Wednesday replaced Chief Executive Officer Mark Tritton as part of a management shake-up to reverse a slump in its business, the home goods retailer said."
"Longtime Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann is stepping down, the company announced Tuesday."
"The company didn't provide a reason for his departure but said Springer has agreed to step aside, effective immediately. Chairman of the Board Maggie Wilderotter will serve as interim CEO as the company begins its search for the next executive."
"Lockheed Martin said on Monday company veteran Marillyn Hewson will step down as chief executive officer, and tapped board member and American Tower Corp boss James Taiclet as her replacement."
"Under Armour said its president and chief executive officer, Patrik Frisk, will be stepping down, effective June 1, as the sportswear retailer searches for a replacement."
"FedEx Corp. said Monday that Fred Smith will step down on June 1 as CEO of the package-delivery company that he founded and be succeeded by the company's president and chief operating officer."
Arrow Electronics, Inc.
"Arrow Electronics, Inc. today announced Sean J. Kerins as president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective June 1, 2022, succeeding Michael J. Long who, effective June 1, 2022, will become executive chairman of the Arrow board of directors."
"Match Group CEO Shar Dubey is stepping down as chief of the dating app giant, effective May 31. Bernard Kim, president of Zynga, will take over the helm, the company said Tuesday."
United Parcel Service
"David Abney, who began his career with UPS in 1974, is retiring after six years as CEO, the company said Thursday."
"Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee announced in December that he would retire May 29. The board elected Rick Cardenas, its chief operating officer, as his successor. Cardenas also previously served as the Darden's chief financial officer."
Lincoln Financial Group
"Lincoln Financial Group today announced that Dennis R. Glass, president and CEO, will transition roles following the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders planned for next May, becoming the chairman of the board."
Bath & Body Works
"Bath & Body Works Chief Executive Officer Andrew Meslow is resigning from his role due to health reasons, the retailer announced Thursday in a securities filing."
Douglas Baker, Jr.
"Ecolab announced that Douglas M. Baker, Jr., executive chairman of the board of directors of Ecolab, has informed the company that he will step down from the board following the expiration of his current term at Ecolab's 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders on May 5, 2022."
"Biogen Inc said on Tuesday that chief executive Michel Vounatsos will step down and that the company is pulling back on selling its controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm."
"Domino's Pizza said in early March that CEO Ritch Allison will step down, effective May 1. Allison, 55, will serve as an advisor until his official retirement in July."
"Norfolk Southern Corporation today announced that Chairman and CEO James A. Squires plans to retire on May 1, 2022, at which time Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Alan H. Shaw will become CEO."
New York Life Insurance
"Mr. DeSanto will assume the chief executive position upon the retirement of Mr. Mathas on April 15, 2022. Mr. Mathas will remain chairman of the board in a non-executive capacity for a transition period."
"Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson is stepping down on April 4, the coffee chain announced Wednesday."
Pacific Life Insurance Company
"Pacific Life Insurance Company announced today that Darryl Button has been named CEO-Elect and will become president and CEO of Pacific Life, succeeding Chairman, President and CEO Jim Morris, on April 1, 2022, upon Mr. Morris' retirement."
"American Airlines CEO Doug Parker is stepping down next year after two decades running airlines and will be replaced by the carrier's president, Robert Isom, on March 31, the company announced Tuesday."
"Neidorff, 78, plans to retire after 25 years as chief executive officer. After he steps down, he will serve as executive chairman until the end of 2022. The board has been crafting a succession plan and will evaluate internal and external candidates for the CEO post."
"Wingstop today announced the resignation of its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Charlie Morrison and the appointment of President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Skipworth as successor Chief Executive Officer, effective March 13, 2022."
Bank of New York Mellon
"Bank of New York Mellon Corp's Chief Executive Officer Todd Gibbons plans to retire and is set to be replaced by vice chair Robin Vince, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday."
Activision Blizzard Inc.
"Kotick said in a statement Friday that he is stepping down from the board after 10 years to focus his full attention on Activision's pending acquisition by Microsoft Corp."
"Home Depot said Thursday that Chief Operating Officer Ted Decker will step into the role of CEO, effective March 1. The retailer's current CEO, Craig Menear, 64, will continue to serve as chair of the board."
NextEra Energy Inc.
"Jim Robo, who transformed NextEra Energy Inc. from a sleepy Florida utility into a clean-energy juggernaut, is stepping down as the company's top executive."
"The connected fitness company announced Tuesday that Peloton co-founder John Foley is stepping down as CEO and will be replaced at the helm by former Spotify executive Barry McCarthy. Foley will become executive chair."
First American Financial
"Kenneth D. DeGiorgio, who most recently served as the company's president, has been appointed chief executive officer, while Dennis J. Gilmore, First American's CEO since 2010, transitions to become chairman of the board of directors."
"CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker, the influential news executive who reshaped the iconic network, announced Wednesday morning that he has resigned from his position effective immediately."
"The Dallas-based airline named more than three-decade company veteran Bob Jordan, executive vice president of corporate services, as Kelly's successor, tasking him with leading the company's recovery. He will start Feb. 1, 2022."
WEC Energy Group
"WEC Energy Group Inc. announced Oct. 25 that President and CEO Kevin Fletcher will retire in June 2022. COO Scott Lauber will become president and CEO of the company, effective Feb. 1, 2022."
"Walt Disney Co said Hulu Chief Executive Officer Randy Freer was stepping down on Friday, as Disney integrates Hulu's operations with its direct to consumer and international business."
Johnson & Johnson
"Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky will step down in January, the company announced Thursday."
"Joyce Mullen has been named as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2022. Ken Lamneck, who has been leading the organization as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2010, will continue with the Company to assist Joyce as she transitions to her new role."
"Executive Vice President Malcolm C. Roberts has been appointed president and elected to the company's board of directors, effective Aug. 1, 2021. He will succeed Thomas A. Lawson as chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2022."
"PVH Corp. announced today that Manny Chirico, Chairman of the Board of Directors, will retire from the Board effective December 31, 2021."
"Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down as chief of the social media company, effective immediately. Parag Agrawal, Twitter's chief technology officer, will take over the helm, the company said Monday."
"Afiniti's board announced that Chishti would step down immediately. The move came two days after a 23-year-old former employee testified before a U.S. congressional committee investigating arbitration clauses that companies write into contracts."
"The company said CEO Doug Merritt was stepping down and Graham Smith, its board chair, was taking over as interim CEO, effective immediately."
"Barclays CEO Jes Staley is stepping down, following the release of preliminary results of a regulatory probe into his relationship with convicted sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein, the U.K.-based bank announced Monday."
Procter & Gamble
"Procter & Gamble said Thursday that its current chief operating officer Jon Moeller will become CEO in November, replacing David Taylor, who will become executive chairman of its board."
"AN has named Mike Manley as its chief executive officer, replacing Mike Jackson, who is retiring after managing the company for the greater part of the last 22 years."
"Pesticide and seed maker Corteva Inc appointed Chuck Magro as the company's new Chief Executive Officer, effective Nov. 1. Magro succeeds James Collins after activist investor Starboard Value LP had sought his ouster."
Citrix Systems Inc.
"Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) Wednesday announced that Chief Executive Officer David Henshall has stepped down as President and CEO and as a member of the Company's Board."
"U.S. oil and gas producer EOG Resources Inc said on Monday President Ezra Yacob would succeed William Thomas as chief executive officer of the company, effective October."
"ONEOK, Inc. president and chief executive officer, Terry K. Spencer, announced today that he will retire on September 30, 2021, after 20 years with the company, including more than seven years as president and CEO."
"The CEO of video game maker TripWire Interactive resigned from his job this week just days after backlash over a tweet in which he expressed support for Texas' new abortion law."
"Ron Rittenmeyer, who has served as CEO and Executive Chairman for nearly four years, will continue as Executive Chairman of the Company and the Board through 2022. Saum Sutaria, M.D., President and Chief Operating Officer of Tenet, will become Chief Executive Officer, effective September 1, 2021."
"Xcel Energy announced Thursday that Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO, will retire as CEO effective Aug. 18, 2021, though he will continue to serve on the Xcel Energy Board of Directors as executive chairman."
United Natural Foods
"Mr. Steven Spinner, who earlier announced his retirement as CEO and who will concurrently retire from the Board, both effective August 9, 2021. Mr. Spinner will continue to provide Management and Board advisory services to UNFI."
"Ovintiv Inc's CEO Doug Suttles announced today he will retire effective August 1, 2021."
Whitehurst's departure is one of several management moves IBM announced on Friday. Whitehurst decided to step down, IBM said, and he will continue working as a senior adviser.
"Jeff Bezos said Tuesday that he will step down as chief executive of Amazon, leaving the helm of the company he founded 27 years ago. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair in the third quarter of this year, which starts July 1, the company said."
"Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, will retire as CEO, effective June 30, 2021. Mr. Frazier will continue to serve on Merck's board of directors as executive chairman, for a transition period to be determined by the board."
"Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf is retiring and will be succeeded by chipmaker's president, Cristiano Amon, on June 30, the company announced Tuesday."
L3Harris Technologies Inc
"U.S. defense contractor L3Harris Technologies Inc said on Tuesday Christopher Kubasik has replaced William Brown as its new chief executive officer."
"Tyson Foods said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Dean Banks would step down due to personal reasons after just eight months in the job, turning the helm over to the company's operations head Donnie King."
"Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon, one of only a few dozen female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies, is stepping down after an eight-year run heading the company."
"Alan B. Colberg, President and CEO of the company for the last seven years, plans to retire at the end of 2021. Keith W. Demmings has been appointed President of Assurant, effective immediately, and has been named to succeed Colberg as CEO and Director in January 2022."
"Eversource Energy today announced that Jim Judge, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will become the company's Executive Chairman of the Board, effective May 5, 2021."
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.
"Citing personal reasons, John J. Nugent resigned Monday as chairman and chief executive of BJ’s Wholesale Club, the No. 3 membership warehouse club behind Costco and Sam’s Club."
"Synchrony Financial CEO Margaret Keane will step down after nearly a decade of running the co-branded card lender."
"TIAA, a leading provider of secure retirements and outcome-focused investment solutions to millions of people and thousands of institutions, said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., intends to retire as President and CEO on March 31, 2021."
"Steven C. Voorhees has decided to step down from his position as president and chief executive officer and a director of the Company for health reasons, effective March 15, 2021."
"Ann Hebert, who worked at Nike for more than 25 years, was most recently the company's vice president and general manager for North America. A spokesperson told CBS News on Tuesday that Hebert "made the decision to resign from Nike."
"Intel CEO Bob Swan is stepping down effective Feb. 15 and will be replaced by VMWare CEO Pat Gelsinger, the chipmaker announced Wednesday."
UnitedHealth Group Inc.
"UnitedHealth Group Inc. appointed Andrew Witty, the former head of one of the world's biggest drugmakers, to succeed Dave Wichmann as CEO after he served fewer than four years in the role."
Marriott International Inc
"Marriott International Inc Chief Executive Officer Arne Sorenson will step back from full-time role for several months for treatment of pancreatic cancer, the company said on Tuesday."
CVS Health Corp
"CVS Health Corp Chief Executive Officer Larry Merlo will retire after a decade-long tenure at the helm of the company during which he led the $69 billion acquisition of one of the oldest U.S. health insurer, Aetna."
"Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said Thursday he is retiring in February after eight years leading the bank, and that retail banking chief Jane Fraser will succeed him."
"Chief Executive Officer Dave Farr was retiring at the end of this week after more than 20 years at the helm."
Dick's Sporting Goods
"Stack, 65 years old, will take on the role of executive chairman and continue as a chief merchant, the company announced Tuesday. Dick's President Lauren Hobart will ascend to the CEO role on February 1, becoming the company's first female chief executive."
Apollo Global Management
"Leon Black said on Monday he would step down as chief executive at Apollo Global Management Inc, following an independent review of his ties to the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein."
"Housing finance giant Freddie Mac's chief executive officer, David Brickman, will resign in January next year, the company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday."
"Energy Transfer LP said on Thursday co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Kelcy Warren will step down and be replaced by executives Mackie McCrea and Tom Long effective Jan. 1."
Universal Health Services
"Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS) announced Tuesday that its founder Alan Miller will step down as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 2021."
Community Health Systems
"After serving in Community Health Systems' top job for more than two decades, CEO Wayne Smith announced Tuesday he's stepping down at the end of 2020."
"Interpublic Group Board of Directors announced today that it has named Philippe Krakowsky as IPG Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2021. Michael I. Roth, the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer will remain in his current role until January 1, 2021 when he will become Executive Chairman of the Board."
"Scott Wine, chairman and chief executive of Polaris Inc., will leave the company at the end of the year to become the new CEO of CNH Industrial N.V., the maker of Case and New Holland agricultural equipment."
"AGCO, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment and solutions, today announced that Martin Richenhagen has chosen to retire as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2020."
"Ferrari Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri has retired citing personal reasons after being in the role for nearly two and a half years and Chairman John Elkann will lead the company on an interim basis, the luxury automaker said on Thursday."
Philip Morris International
"Camilleri, executive chairman of Philip Morris International (PMI) (PM.N), also retired from the role, the Marlboro maker said separately on Thursday."
"Robo-adviser Betterment LLC said founder Jon Stein will step down as chief executive officer on Tuesday and will be replaced by former ViacomCBS Inc executive Sarah Levy."
"The Independent Review Committee of the Board of Directors of FirstEnergy Corp. today announced a leadership transition, including the termination of the Company's Chief Executive Officer, Charles E. Jones, effective immediately."
"Mark Anderson, a current member of Alteryx's Board of Directors, has been appointed to succeed Dean Stoecker, Alteryx's Co-founder, Chairman and current Chief Executive Officer."
"Ford Motor CEO and President Jim Hackett will unexpectedly retire in the midst of an $11 billion restructuring plan that has failed to impress investors. Hackett, 65, will be succeeded by his heir apparent, Jim Farley, Ford's chief operating officer, effective Oct 1."
Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America
"Deanna Mulligan will retire as CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America at the end of 2020. Andrew McMahon, who currently serves as president of the company, will succeed Mulligan as CEO."
"Eddie Edwards is stepping down as president and CEO of communications solutions provider CommScope Holding Co. Inc."
"Danaher Corporation today announced that Executive Vice President, Rainer M. Blair, will succeed Thomas P. Joyce Jr. as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Company's Board of Directors, upon Mr. Joyce's retirement from these positions on September 1, 2020."
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
"Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc said on Monday its biggest shareholder, Stefano Pessina, will step down as the chief executive officer after five years at the helm."
"AT&T announced Friday that CEO Randall Stephenson will retire and will be succeeded by President and COO John Stankey on July 1, months earlier than expected."
"Payments giant Fiserv Inc said Thursday that Frank Bisignano would become the company's chief executive on July 1, with long-time head Jeffery Yabuki remaining on as executive chairman until the end of the year."
"Legere, who stepped down as the company's CEO at the beginning of this month, had originally said he would stay on the company's board until June 4. Friday's announcement cut short his time by more than a month."
"United Airlines announced Thursday that CEO Oscar Munoz will turn over day-to-day management of the airline next spring to President Scott Kirby, who will become company's chief executive officer."
Altria Group Inc
"Altria Group Inc said on Friday Chief Executive Officer Howard Willard has stepped down, ending a near two-year tumultuous term at the helm marked by heightened scrutiny of the tobacco giant's bet on e-cigarette maker Juul."
"Abbott Laboratories said on Wednesday Chief Executive Officer Miles White would step down next year and be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Robert Ford."
"Mandy Ginsberg on Tuesday announced that she is stepping down as longtime CEO of Match Group, the owner of online dating sites including Match and Tinder."
"Mastercard's chief executive officer of 10 years, Ajay Banga, will step down at the start of the next year, the company said on Tuesday, and be replaced by Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach."
"Bob Iger has stepped down as CEO of Disney. Iger's move, announced Tuesday, is effective immediately. He'll stay on as executive chairman through December 2021 and continue to direct Disney's content creation."
"Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block has stepped down from his role about a year and half after he took it on in summer 2018, the company announced on Tuesday."
"Victoria's Secret honcho Leslie Wexner stepped down Thursday as chairman and CEO of the retail giant he started six decades ago."
"CenterPoint Energy Inc. announced Feb. 19 that Scott Prochazka stepped down as president, CEO and a director of the company, effective immediately."
MGM Resorts International
"MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren has told the company's board that he is stepping down, prior to his contract ending, the company announced Wednesday. He will serve in his role until a successor is appointed, it said."
"Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich unexpectedly stepped down Friday, parting ways with the board after a 26-year career at Harley-Davidson -- including five years as CEO in which the company lost more than half its market value."
"Wayne Peacock became CEO of USAA, the San Antonio-based insurance and financial services giant, in February 2020, stepping up from his prior position as Property and Casualty Insurance Group president following the retirement of CEO Stuart Parker."
"Boeing fired Muilenburg last month amid a ballooning crisis around its 737 Max jets in the wake of two fatal crashes that killed 346 people. Longtime board member Dave Calhoun will become Boeing's new CEO on Monday."
"Builders FirstSource, Inc. today announced that Chad Crow, its Chief Executive Officer, has decided to retire after 20 years of service with the Company. Mr. Crow will retire during 2020 after assisting the Board of Directors in hiring his replacement."
"Top U.S. steel producer Nucor Corp said on Friday Chief Executive Officer John Ferriola would retire on Dec.31 and will be succeeded by senior executive Leon Topalian."
Why are so many major company CEOs stepping down?
Most CEOs stepped down for retirement (mainly baby boomers at the end of their careers). The second most common reason CEOs stepped down was because their interim period was over. Third, the CEOs resigned.
Challenger, Gray, & Christmas tracks CEO turnover in depth. The chart you see below is from their work.
How many CEOs have resigned?
“In total, 395 CEOs left their positions during the first quarter of 2022—marking the highest quarterly total since Q1 2020, which had 441 recorded CEO exits.”
This is according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
What does it mean if a CEO steps down?
Just so we’re all on the same page, here is how we define a CEO stepping down – the leader of a company gives up his or her position for any number of reasons like retirement, resignation, contract ending, switching to a new role, etc.
Additional workplace trend tracking
At Buildremote, we like to identify then track workplace trends exhaustively. We commit to being the reliable source for anything happening in the way work gets done. Here are a few other reports you may find interesting:
- We reported a staggering amount of well-known companies going remote
- Then the companies going hybrid rolled in
- Then the companies switching to a four-day work week
- We analyzed in-depth the true plans for the Fortune 100’s return to office
- We reported on every major company reducing office space
Things are changing quickly in the workplace. Stay on top of it all by subscribing to Buildremote’s bite-sized emails. We only email you when we have something interesting, not every day.