Turnover among chief executives at media, consumer products, food and retail companies dropped in February, according to the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
A total of eight CEOs in those sectors announced their departures last month, down from 15 in January. Two media, two consumer products, one food and three retail CEOs said they planned to leave their posts.
"Turnover at the top can often be a precursor to changes throughout the organization," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Even in a situation such as retirement, a new CEO will bring in his own people -- maybe not right away, but over time -- which can lead to changes further down the corporate ladder."
Across the 26 industries Challenger tracks, 104 CEOs announced their leaves in February, down 15% from 123 in January. The health care sector experienced the highest CEO turnover last month with 19 departures, down from 25 in January.
A new CEO will bring in his own people, leading to changes further down the corporate ladder”
Among food companies, Diamond Foods CEO Michael Mendes, 48, left the company alongside Chief Financial Officer Steven Neil, 60, in the wake of an investigation which found that Diamond Foods had wrongly accounted for payments to walnut farmers.
At consumer goods firms, Bill McLaughlin, 55, of the Plymouth, Minn.-based mattress manufacturer Select Comfort, retired and Anthony Thornley, 65, of the Carlsbad, Calif.-based sporting goods company Callaway Golf, gave up his position as interim CEO upon the hiring of Oliver Brewer.
The three CEO departures in retail were a mixture of resignations and interim periods ending. Larry Barenbaum, 65, of the Plymouth, Minn.-based women's apparel retailer Christopher & Banks, abruptly left the beleaguered company last month. Christopher & Banks' president, Joel Waller, has temporarily taken his place while the company seeks a permanent replacement.
Edwin Holman, 65, of the Cary, N.C.-based convenience store chain, The Pantry, gave up his position as interim CEO upon the hiring of Dennis Hatchell. Richard Hayne, 64, of the Philadelphia-based retailer Urban Outfitters, gave up his position as interim CEO upon the hiring of Tedford Marlow.
The two CEO departures in media occurred as those executives took jobs elsewhere. Steve Weitzner of the New York publishing company Ziff Davis, left to become CEO of the Erlanger, Ky. publishing company Summit Business Media. Lex Fenwick of Bloomberg Ventures, left to become CEO of Dow Jones & Company, the parent company of FINS.
Challenger compiles its monthly CEO turnover report based on media reports and company filings.
Write to Damian Ghigliotty at Damian.Ghigliotty@dowjones.com