More CEOs are staying put.

In 2022, companies announced 1,235 chief executive officers left their jobs, down 8% from the 1,337 who left their posts in 2021. And that is the lowest annual total since 2017, when 1,160 CEO exits were announced, Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a firm that tracks such data, said Thursday.

“Companies appear to be holding steady with their leadership after years of leadership changes and unprecedented uncertainty,” said Andrew Challenger, a senior vice president with the Chicago-based firm.

And many of the departures were due to retirement rather than turmoil.

The number of CEO changes at U.S. companies rose 5% from the 95 in November to 100 in December. But December’s total was down 6% from the 106 CEOs who left their posts in the same month of 2021, according to the report from Challenger, a global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm.

The government and nonprofit sector led all industries last year with 271 CEO exits, while the technology sector announced 137 of those changes. Companies in the health care and health care products industry announced 111 CEO exits, and hospitals announced 103.

“The pandemic changed how many hospitals and health care companies operated. The industry was plagued by staffing issues and burnout at all levels,” Challenger said in the news release.

The financial technology industry, known as FinTech, saw 25 CEO exits through December, a 108% increase from the 12 chief executives who left their posts in these companies in 2021.

CEOs have exited 199 public entities this year, slightly more than the 195 public entities that announced CEO changes in 2021.

Many CEOs (308) retired in 2022, while an additional 272 CEOs stepped down into other positions in the company, usually in a board or other executive role, Challenger said.

Fewer CEOs left due to misconduct allegations in 2022 compared with the year prior. In 2021, seven CEOs left their post due to sexual harassment, professional misconduct or racism allegations, compared with two who left for those reasons last year.

Another 288 CEOs and companies did not give reasons for their departures, significantly higher than the 155 who did not do so in 2021, the report said.

Let’s start … now

One simple word could keep some of us from meeting our 2023 goals: Procrastination. But the word itself sometimes becomes a joking matter.

A Facebook post less than two weeks into the new year said: “I’m going to stop procrastinating this year... But I’m going to wait until next week to start.” A July 2021 post expressed similar sentiments: “A day may come when I no longer procrastinate ... but it is not this day.”

One Facebook “Procrastination Memes” page has 1,700 likes.

A similar page, which suggests procrastination is a “way of life,” has 56,000 followers.

Clearly, there’s an audience and amusement in the topic.

But there are also consequences. As one sarcastic meme says: “I’m not a procrastinator. I just prefer doing all my work in a deadline-induced panic.”

If you held up a mirror, could you see yourself: stressed out and frustrating others, including colleagues and your boss?

Procrastination is “problematic from the employer’s perspective,” the website solvingprocrastination.com says. The tendency can inhibit employee productivity and performance.

“For example, procrastination often means that employees spend large portions of their day wasting time, and that they often rush to complete tasks right before deadlines, which can lead to low-quality work,” the website said. “Furthermore, because procrastination can make people more frustrated and stressed out at work, it can also make them more interested in leaving their current employer for a different one.”

Sometimes, I think, people believe they’re escaping the problem, but haven’t come to grips with the fact that they might actually be the problem.

Finally, the website suggests, when leaders procrastinate with decision-making, that can cause other workplace issues, such as hindering innovation.

Sure, sometimes we can be too quick to move. But just as often or even more frequently, I think the downfalls lie in the delays.

I’m not sure about you, but I want to be more proactive on tackling tasks this year.

Here’s one last reality dose from the social media sphere: “A thousand excuses will not become a reason.”

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at lisagreen@jg.net. Lead On also appears online as a blog at www.journalgazette.net/blog/lead-on/

Managing Editor

Managing Editor Lisa Green has more than 35 years of experience at newspapers in Illinois and Indiana. She has worked at The Journal Gazette since 2000, initially as business editor. She has a biweekly leadership column/blog called "Lead On."