- As WorldCom president and CEO Bernard Ebbers packs up his desk and walks away from the top job at the embattled telecommunications company, he joins a list of high-tech CEOs who have preceded him out the door since September.
According to a new survey released by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, one in six of all CEOs who have left their posts since September were from tech-sector companies.
According to Challenger, 503 CEOs have left their jobs in the past seven months and 80 of those, or 16%, came from high-tech companies. This didn't surprise Challenger CEO John A Challenger.
"The technology industry is really struggling right now, due in large part to the woes of the telecommunications firms," Challenger says. "We will likely continue to see a lot of volatility within the leadership ranks of the companies as they try to find a solution to their problems."
According to Challenger, the telecommunications industry in particular still has a long way to go to shake itself out and settle down from the mergers and consolidations that have marked it for so long.
Challenger has been tracking CEO departures since August 1999. In that time, 2539 CEOs have left their posts. The high point for departures was October 2000, when 129 CEOs left in that month alone. That peak was followed by January 2001 and February 2001, when 119 CEOs left in each month.
Since the firm has been keeping track, it has noticed that the average number of years CEOs stay with companies has dropped to about 8.5 years.