The Current State of CEOs: A Challenging Year

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In the world of corporate leadership, this year has been far from a walk in the park for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Corporate boardrooms have witnessed a significant exodus of CEOs, and their performance and behavior are now under intense scrutiny. Let’s delve into the details of this tumultuous period for CEOs and explore the factors contributing to their departures.

CEO Exodus: A Startling Trend

CEOs have been leaving their posts at an unprecedented rate in recent times. According to a report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, more than 1,000 CEOs have bid farewell to their companies this year. This represents a staggering 33% increase compared to the previous year and stands as the highest number of CEO exits within the first seven months of a year since 2002 when exit tracking began.

CEO Tenure: A Rapid Decline

The once-enviable tenure of CEOs has seen a significant decline. Analysts specializing in CEO succession at talent management company Ferguson Partners note that the average CEO tenure has dwindled from a substantial 12 years to a range of just 5 to 7 years. What’s driving these shorter tenures? It appears that CEOs are facing new pressures in their roles, the relentless pace of change, and, in some cases, the consequences of their own actions.

The Evolving Role of CEOs

The role of a CEO is evolving rapidly, and it’s causing turmoil in the boardroom. The traditional expectations placed on CEOs are shifting, and executive boards are grappling to meet the demands of increasingly vigilant shareholders.

September’s CEO Exits

The month of September alone has witnessed the abrupt departure of at least three major CEOs. One noteworthy exit is that of BP CEO Bernard Looney, who resigned “effective immediately.” His resignation, stemming from issues of transparency in historical relationships with colleagues, marked the end of a tenure lasting less than four years. While ethical concerns played a role, investors were also dissatisfied with BP’s strategic decisions under his leadership.

Similarly, clothing company Express welcomed a new CEO, Stewart Glendinning, as Timothy Baxter stepped down. Baxter’s departure followed disappointing second-quarter results, with notable declines in net sales and share prices.

Walgreens Boots Alliance saw CEO Rosalind Brewer resign after less than three years in charge. Her departure coincides with the company’s shift towards focusing more on healthcare, given that retail had not been a growth driver for Walgreens.

Oil Prices Surge

Shifting gears to the global economy, oil prices have soared to a 10-month high, driven in part by catastrophic flooding in Libya, which disrupted oil exports. This event, combined with supply cuts from Russia and Saudi Arabia, has led to higher gasoline prices, impacting consumers and contributing to inflation.

Apple’s iPhone 15 Event

On a different note, Apple recently unveiled its iPhone 15 lineup, featuring design innovations, enhanced camera capabilities, and the transition to USB-C charging cords. These changes are set to reshape the landscape of smartphone technology.


In a year that has brought unprecedented challenges to CEOs, the corporate world is witnessing significant shifts in leadership and strategy. As CEOs navigate new expectations and pressures, it remains crucial for organizations to adapt to these changes and embrace innovation.