CEO departures ticked up slightly last year

Departures by the nation's top business leaders increased in December and finished the year higher than 2012, according to a new report on Wednesday.

Last month, 99 CEOs left their jobs, a 5.3 percent increase over the 94 recorded in November, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a global outplacement consultant. 

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The December total fell 4 percent from the same month a year ago when 103 CEO exits were announced.

Overall, Challenger tracked 1,246 CEO changes in 2013, 2.6 percent more than the 1,214 departures announced in 2012.

Departures slowed in the final three months of last year when 297 CEO changes were announced, 8 percent less than the same period in 2012, when 323 CEOs left their posts.

The final quarter total also was 14.6 percent fewer than the 348 changes in the July-September quarter.  

Healthcare led all industries with turnover at 265, 70 of which occurred in the last quarter of the year.

The government and non-profit sector followed with 178 CEO departures for the year, including 45 last quarter. 

Third-ranked in departures was the financial services sector, which saw 143 CEOs leave their posts last year, 16 percent more than the 123 in 2012.

The most notable announcement in December came from General Motors which announced that retiring CEO Dan Akerson will be replaced by Mary Barra, the company’s first female CEO, the first female head of any global automaker.