COVID-19

U.S. firms dealing with high CEO turnover

Mitchell Hartman Feb 13, 2020
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Executives are navigating new technologies, new competitors and fallout from the trade war as they scramble for talent in a tight labor market. pxhere
COVID-19

U.S. firms dealing with high CEO turnover

Mitchell Hartman Feb 13, 2020
Executives are navigating new technologies, new competitors and fallout from the trade war as they scramble for talent in a tight labor market. pxhere
HTML EMBED:
COPY

More CEOs are heading for the exits, according to a monthly report on large-, medium- and small-business leadership compiled by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. It found 219 U.S. chief executives stepped down from their posts in January, up 37% from the month before, and up 40% from January of last year.

Why is there so much turnover in the C-suite?

“There’s a lot of new technologies, new competitors, and companies are having to retrench, change strategies, and bring in outside talent to help them combat those technologies,” said Andy Challenger with Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

He said when a CEO vacates the top slot — voluntarily or with a push — it’s often an outsider who replaces them.

Turnover is highest in nonprofits and government, where leaders face a volatile election year that could impact their funding and programs.

In every industry, however, CEOs face unexpected threats, like coronavirus.

Joe Galvin at executive advisory firm Vistage says CEOs he works with spent the last two years navigating the U.S.-China trade war. Now coronavirus has become a factor.

“In one case, their factories will be closed until mid-March,” he said. “That’s an emerging flash point.”

Galvin said CEOs face more mundane challenges, like how to hire talent when unemployment is so low, and how to increase sales when economic growth is so slow.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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