CEOs Can’t Stand 2019 Either

Bernardo Hees, formerly of Kraft Heinz, was among the CEOs to depart their posts this year.

Photo:

Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Sept. 17, 2019 1:50 pm ET

When the going gets tough, the top get going. According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 1,009 chief executives of U.S.-based companies have left their posts in the first eight months of this year, 15% more than the same period last year, and the highest amount since Challenger began tracking data in 2002.

The firm’s vice president

Andrew Challenger

cited “growing uncertainty surrounding global business and market strength.” That could be the case in the energy sector, where churn in the top spot has surged 139% from the same period last year. But a bad economy can’t take all the blame.

Miguel Patricio

is replacing

Bernardo Hees

at

Kraft Heinz

amid a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and weak sales.

Rob Lynch

from Arby’s was named to replace

Steve Ritchie

at

Papa John’s

as the pizza maker tries to move past controversies. Shareholder groups have raised pressure on boards and leaders. CEOs aren’t exactly taking it laying down. Earlier this year more than 300 companies, including

Chevron
,

Boeing
,

and

Yum Brands
,

signed a letter calling for the SEC to take “strong action to regulate proxy advisory firms.” CEOs who can’t take the heat seem to be stepping out of the kitchen.

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