Data on departure reasons in US CEO turnover over fiscal years 1992-2020

Published: 27 February 2024| Version 5 | DOI: 10.17632/9mh4dg4rfn.5
Dmitriy Chulkov,


We present a dataset of US CEO turnover types created with manual data collection through searches of news stories related to CEO turnover. The data identify the fiscal year of turnover and its type for top managers in publicly-traded US firms. We identify turnover cases based on changes in the CEO of the firm as recorded in secondary data sources of Compustat and Execucomp, and then we classify turnover types based on the examination of full-text news. We start dataset construction with the ExecuComp executive-level data for the fiscal years from 1992 through 2020. These data are merged with the CompuStat dataset of financial variables. As the dataset is intended for research on CEO turnover, we exclude observations in which the CEO at the start of the fiscal year is not well-defined. The data set also excludes firm/year combinations that involve a restructuring of the firm – spinoff, buyout, merger, or bankruptcy. We identify the CEO at the start of each year for each firm. To identify CEO turnover based on changes in the CEO from year to year, we require firm observations to extend over at least six contiguous years. Cases involving the last year the firm is in the sample are excluded. We also exclude from the dataset cases when there was an interim CEO who stayed in the position for less than 2 years. This results in a sample of 3,100 firms reflecting 41,773 firm/year combinations. For this sample, we examine news articles related to CEO turnover to confirm the reasons for each CEO departure case. We use the ProQuest full-text news database and search for the company name, the executive name, and the departure year. We identify news articles mentioning the turnover case and then classify the explanation of each CEO departure case into one of five categories of turnover. These categories represent CEOs who resigned, were fired, retired, left due to illness or death, and those who left the position but stayed with the firm in a change of duties, respectively. The published data file does not include proprietary data from ExecuComp and CompuStat such as executive names and firm financial data. These data fields may be merged with the current data file using the provided ExecuComp and CompuStat identifiers. The dataset consists of a single table containing the following fields: • gvkey – unique identifier for the firms retrieved from CompuStat database • firmid – unique firm identifier to distinguish distinct contiguous time periods created by breaks in a firm’s presence in the dataset • coname – company name as listed in the CompuStat database • execid – unique identifier for the executives retrieved from ExecuComp database • year – fiscal year • reason – reason for the eventual departure of the CEO executive from the firm, this field is blank for executives who did not leave the firm during the sample period • ceo_departure – dummy variable that equals 1 if the executive left the firm in the fiscal year, and 0 otherwise



Indiana University Kokomo, Purdue University


Econometrics, Labor Economics, Corporate Finance, Turnover (Labor), Employment Turnover