October 13, 2010 | last updated May 29, 2012 10:50 pm

CEO exits gained speed in September

The revolving door to the chief executive suite sped up in September, with healthcare CEOs the most vulnerable, a fresh survey shows.

Chicago outplacement specialist Challenger, Gray & Christmas counted 111 CEO departures last month, up 17 percent from August's 95 exits. September's CEO turnover was 5.7 percent more than the same month in 2009.

Health care continues to be the area with the highest CEO turnover, Challenger Gray said. Another 23 health care chiefs announced their departures in September. For the year, this sector has seen 165 CEO changes, nearly 10 percent more than the 151 announced by these organizations through September 2009.

The government and nonprofit sector has seen the second largest number of CEO changes this year, with 132 to date, including 13 in September. The next closest sector is financial, which has 88 CEO changes this year.

"It is difficult to pinpoint an overriding trend when it comes to CEO turnover this year,'' said Challenger Gray CEO John A. Challenger. "Several factors are converging, including a volatile economy, an aging CEO population, a brighter spotlight on the CEO position and calls for more accountability on the part of corporate leadership."

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