Skip to main content

CEO turnover in retail doubles in 2023

About half of CEOs report some problems attracting qualified workers.
The turnover among CEOs in the retail industry more than doubled in 2023 compared to 2022.

More retail chief executives headed toward the exit door in 2023 than the previous year.

U.S. companies announced 55% more CEO changes in 2023 than in 2022, according to a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that included public U.S. businesses as well as private, government and nonprofit companies. In 2023, 1,914 left their positions, which is the highest amount since the firm started tracking the data in 2002.

The turnover among CEOs in the retail industry more than doubled in 2023 compared to 2022, and was the highest since 2019. Fifty-two retail chief executives exited in 2023 compared to 21 last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The rate of new CEOs (across all industries) who are women held at 28% to finish out 2023, higher than the 26% of new CEOs who were women in 2022. Meanwhile, the percentage of women CEOs leaving the top spot rose to 24% in 2023, up from 19.5% during the corresponding period in 2022. 2023 witnessed more new CEOs who are women than any previous year. 

Additional highlights from the Challenger report are below.

•CEOs are leaving their posts younger than ever in Challenger’s tracking. The average age of an exiting CEO was 56 in 2023, down from over 63 in 2017. 

•Companies more often looked externally for their CEO replacements than in 2022. For public entities, 64% of companies had internally groomed replacements, down from 69% in 2022. 

“Succession planning is a crucial area for companies in the coming year, said Challenger. 

“With pioneering technology creating both pitfalls and new opportunities for companies, Boards and C-Suites will need to decide what their next chapter looks like, including the skills their leaders need, as well as the skills gap that needs to be addressed,” said Andrew Challenger, workplace expert and senior VP of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. 

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds