May 31, 2001, 12:00 AM

Internet companies lead in CEO departures

Outplacement firm Challenger says inexperienced leadership has caused the high rate of dot-com CEO departures.

May figures from executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas show CEO departures are higher among dot-com companies than among any other sector for the 10th consecutive month. Of the 84 CEO departures the monthly survey identified in May, 23, or 27%, were from dot-com companies, including both b2C and b2b. In 2001, 437 CEO departures have been reported, 22% more than the 389 tracked from January through May 2000. Since Challenger began its monthly tally in August 1999, there have been 1,843 CEO changes, an average of 92 per month. Dot-coms have experienced the largest share of CEO departures consistently since August 2000.

Challenger CEO John Challenger blames the relative inexperience of the leadership at many of the dot-com companies for the high rate of CEO turnover. “The dot-com business structure is so new, even experienced CEOs have had trouble figuring out the best way to run them,” he says. “As a result, we’ve seen an inordinate amount of voluntary and not-so-voluntary departures from these firms.”


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