some of our clients:
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • YPO
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • US Army
  • Air New Zealand
  • WB
  • Red Bull
  • Frito Lay
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Delta Airlines
  • bp

What CEO Resignations Reveal


What CEO resignations revealCEO’s often experience overwhelming pressure to perform. Unfortunately, many CEO’s are misaligned with corporate objectives. Some make poor or even fatal decisions under stress, while others allow their character flaws to spin out of control.  When CEO’s sabotage their own best efforts and fail to bring their best selves to the workplace, they can experience untold embarrassment, despair, and untimely resignations. So what do sudden CEO resignations reveal?

Recent CEO Resignations

CEO Resignations 2020

On September 20, 2020, Trevor Milton, Nikolo founder and CEO announced his resignation following accusations by Hindenburg Research on September 11 that he lied about the company’s technology. According to a Twitter post, Milton’s resignation was at the request of the company’s board of supervisors. Milton is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for misleading investors.

On September 11, 2020, Rio Tinto CEO, Jean-Sébastien Jacques resigned under pressure from investors due to the company’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred Indigenous heritage site in Juukan Gorge in Western Australia in order to expand an iron ore mine. The destruction provoked outrage from the Aboriginal community, politicians, and important stakeholders.

On September 10, 2020, Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat resigned, Under his tenure, grew to almost $20 billion in 2019 from just $7 billion in 2012. Corbat’s early retirement came as federal regulators prepare a formal rebuke to the bank for failing to upgrade its obsolete security technology systems.

On August 26, 2020, TikTok CEO, Kevin Mayer, announced his resignation. Mayer had served as chairman of the Direct-to-Consumer and International Division at Walt Disney prior to being hired as CEO of TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. The former Disney executive had worked at TikTok for just over 100 days. As President Donald Trump’s executive order banned TikTok in the U.S. unless it was sold to another company, Mayer appeared unable to resolve the conflict or reassure American legislators about TikTok’s Chinese ownership.

On August 3, 2020, Ford CEO Jim Hackett resigned after the company’s turnaround plan did not satisfy investors. Hackett will stay on as CEO until October 1. During his three-year tenure as CEO, he realigned the company’s portfolio. Among his accomplishments, Hackett phased out most sedans in order to emphasize SUVs and trucks, and pioneered Ford’s entry into the smart vehicle space with the electric Mustang Mach-E.

On July 27, 2020, Walgreens’ CEO Stefano Pessina announced that he will step down and become executive chairman when the company finds his replacement. In a letter dated July 23, Pessina told board members that he has considered stepping down “for some time, but for the reasons the Board knows, the time was not right to do so.” Pessina has more than 16% ownership of the company.

On July 21, 2020, Jide Zeitlin resigned as the chairman and chief executive of Tapestry Inc., the parent company of Coach and Kate Spade following a board investigation into his personal conduct. According to The Wall Street Journal a woman accused Zeitlin of posing as a photographer and coerced her into romantic relationship around a decade ago. Zeitlin confirmed portions of her accusation in a statement to the Journal.

On July 11, 2020, CEO of tech company Solid8, Michael Lofthouse resigned after he was was filmed berating an Asian American family while they were participating in a birthday party on July 4 at a Carmel, California restaurant. LofthouseHe informed The San Francisco Chronicle that he registered in an anti-racist program and “once again begun my journey back to sobriety.”

On June 9, 2020, Greg Glassman, CrossFit Chief Executive resigned after a week of controversy about his reactions to the nationwide protests against police brutality sparked by George Floyd’s death. Reebok, brand affiliates, and athletes cut ties with the company after a provocative tweet from Glassman and his communication to affiliate gym owners that he wasn’t mourning George Floyd’s death in a subsequent Zoom meeting.

On April 24, 2020, Randall Stephenson, Chief Executive of AT&T announced his resignation on June 30, 2020.  He will continue as Chairman of the media and telecommunications giant until January 2021.  Stephenson had previously been under fire for questionable M&A decisions and operations; the acquisitions of DirectTV for $67 billion and Time Warner for $104 billion, and the unsuccessful takeover of T-Mobile.

On April 4, 2020, Sergio Rivera, CEO of SeaWorld Entertainment resigned only five months into his tenure. According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Rivera cited disagreement with the board of directors’ decision-making, His predecessor, Gustavo  Antorcha, cited a similar reason for his departure in September 2019.

On February 25, 2020, Robert Iger, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020 announced his immediate resignation as the company’s chief executive. He will continue his role as Executive Chairman until end the end of 2021. It appears Mr. Iger doesn’t want to be involved in daily operations any longer. Wondering why?  Here’s how Robert Iger thinks.

On February 6, Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse resigned after a private investigator spied on a former executive who had joined another bank. An internal investigation cleared Thiam of misconduct, however the scandal impacted the credibility of his leadership.

On February 1, Adam Bierman, CEO and co-founder of MedMen, resigned after downsizing 40 percent of its workforce at the end of 2019. He resided over a sharp reduction in the cannabis company’s share price over the past year.

On January 28, Mandy Ginsberg, Match Group CEO, which owns dating apps such as Tinder and OkCupid, announced that she’s stepping down after 14 years with the company for personal reasons.

CEO Resignations 2019

On December 23, 2019 Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg was fired after a turbulent period in which there were two deadly crashes, delays and setbacks with the 737 Max.  After the first crash, Muilenburg indicated that the pilots were at fault.

On November 3, 2019, McDonald’s Corporation announced that CEO Steve Easterbrook would step down as a result of his consensual relationship with an employee that violated company policy.

On September 25, 2019, Juul CEO Kevin Burns resigned. Burns’ simply took too long to acknowledge the potential health risks of the company’s vaping products.  On September 9, the FDA banned marketing to young users and various flavored-vaping products. Some states have already followed suit.

On September 24, 2019,  WeWork parent, We Company, stated that its controversial founder, Adam Neumann, would step down as CEO amid reports of his predilection for marijuana and over-the-top grandiosity. Investors and others had already raised concerns about the company’s governance and business model.

On March 28, 2019,  Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan resigned due to the widespread sales practices scandal based on opening millions of unauthorized consumer accounts.

On Jan. 23,  2019, Carlos Ghosn resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault, the largest French car maker, on accusations of financial misconduct. Ghosn had served as the CEO of Michelin North America, chairman of AvtoVAZ, chairman and former CEO of Nissan, and chairman of Mitsubishi Motors.

On January 8, 2019, Herbalife’s chief executive Richard Goudis resigned over unspecified comments he made prior to taking the helm contrary to the company’s expense-related policies and business practices. According to the news release, his departure was not due to any issues regarding the company’s financial reporting.

CEO Resignations 2018

On October 2, 2018, Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo CEO stepped down after 25 years with the company. During her 12 year tenure as the CEO, the company experienced 80 percent sales growth. Her exit occurred during concerns about overhauling the U.S. beverage division either by spinning off bottling operations or splitting up the company. Here’s how Indra Nooyi thinks.

On September 10, 2018, Les Moonves, Chairman, President and CEO of US media giant CBS resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct.

On July 17, 2018, Texas Instruments Chief Executive Brian Crutcher resigned due to violations of the company’s code of conduct, less than two months after taking the control of the company. The semiconductor company stated that “the violations are related to personal behavior that is not consistent with our ethics and core values.”

On June 15, 2018, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes resigned after Holmes and Theranos were charged with fraudulently raising in excess of $700 million from investors. Holmes made numerous misleading statements about the firm’s portable blood analyzer.

On June 1, 2018, Samsonite CEO Ramesh Tainwala resigned after allegations that he padded his resume by falsifying his academic credentials.

On January 27, 2018, Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Finance Chair of the Republican National Committee resigned after dozens of accusations of rape and sexual harassment.

The Optimal Thinking CEO

The Optimal Thinking CEO is committed to optimization. We are true to ourselves, others, and the mission of our company. Optimal Thinking CEO’s understand that when the cost of failure is high, optimism is the wrong strategy. Leading with our best selves, we take the most constructive actions to achieve the best outcome while we best prepare for the worst outcome.

Optimal Thinking CEO’s lead by example, point the best way forward. and bring out the best from our people.

Call (424) 204-6133

Monday to Friday, 8:30 am- 5 pm PST or

schedule a call

to discuss your most important objectives.

9 Responses to “What CEO Resignations Reveal”

  1. Mandy says:

    Sounds like that storm Trump was talking about hit pretty hard…These guys say they resigned but more likely they got fired.

  2. Kim Waters says:

    Rosalene, thanks for compiling this list. These leaders do not deserve to be at the helm and remind us to as you say, stay true to ourselves.

  3. Doreen K says:

    How about Carlos Ghosn being charged for the 4th time. Let’s see if power and privilege win over justice this time.

  4. Martin Bolton says:

    Staying true to myself in the face of tough competition is a challenge I struggle with. This post reminds me to make the right decisions not just for the moment but for the long run. Interesting post and very interesting website.

  5. Shelley T says:

    I’ve worked for several questionable CEOs who don’t make the headlines. Too many get away with too much. This article is a reminder that integrity is the first, second, third quality that leaders must maintain. Thanks for taking the time to do the research.

  6. Brian Jackson says:

    Just saw the documentary about Elizabeth Holmes and her Theranos caper. Glad you included her. Great post. Keep them coming.

  7. John Carpin says:

    As a fortune 1000 C-level professional, I have worked for great CEO’s and others who I did not admire. This post tells it as it is. Thanks.

  8. Harold J says:

    Great article. You get to the heart of leadership, both personal and business. If you don’t put your best self in charge, you pay the price.

Leave a Reply

  • When I began optimal thinking coaching, I was spending long hours at the office and hardly got to see my family. Your coaching helped me gain organizational savvy and get the most important things done on time and on budget. I am now enjoying quality time with my family.

    Ken T, Manchester, England

  • Optimal Thinking has a little bit for everyone and will help people be the best self they can be.

    Kenneth Blanchard, Author,

    The One Minute Manager

  • Your unwavering focus on best practices, best solutions and best value in the coaching process is unmatched by any other coach. You are the very best!

    Steve M, Palo Alto, CA

  • You helped me get past having to be the smartest person in the room. My colleagues tell me that I have become a leader who reflects the best efforts of my people. You were there every step of the way, and made me take responsibility for making the necessary changes.

    Bryan S, St. Louis, MI

  • Without your coaching, we would never have been able to outperform our competition. Your coaching helped me steer the company optimally in very tough times. We have increased market share, and our earnings have never been better.

    Larry P, Silicon Valley, CA

  • You helped me to become a disciplined leader and made me accountable for my goals and commitments. My best self is in charge thanks to you.

    Barry L, New York

  • What does it take to become Australia's most successful woman? Glickman was awarded her title for her ability to motivate American business people.

    Business Review Weekly

  • I must endorse Optimal Thinking as the mental foundation for peak performance in all fields. Optimal Thinking is a quantum leap beyond rhetorical positive thinking ideology.

    Dr. Gregory H. Tefft

    Triple Crown Mr. America, Olympics Sports Medicine Staff, California

  • Your executive coaching enabled me to restore important relationships with my boss and coworkers. I am able to control my temper and communicate assertively. Years of therapy didn't help, but your coaching did the job. Thanks.

    Phillip B, Dallas.

  • My life and career were out of balance for years when I began optimal thinking coaching. I'm on track now and enjoying each day to the max.

    Don M, New York.

  • Fantastic coach, brilliant, enthusiastic, totally honest, humane, assertive, extremely helpful and patient. A winner.

    Harold W, CEO,

    Melbourne, Australia

  • You have given me a priceless gift - the tools to live my personal life and career with my best self.

    Marilyn E , London, UK.

  • As a senior executive in corporate America for 25 years, I was burnt out. Thanks for restoring my optimism and commitment to my career. I'm excited about the challenges ahead.

    David P, Irvine, CA.

  • "The future belongs to those who bring their best to the present."

    Rosalene Glickman, Ph.D.


  • With my severance package benefits coming to an end, I was starting to worry about paying my bills. You got my act together and showed me how to approach the right people and the best companies. I'm thrilled with my new position. You're a life saver.

    K.L, Los Angeles, CA

Call 424-204-6133

Join over 500,000 subscribers.

Executive coaching with Rosalene Glickman

Faced with issues beyond your control and unprecedented tough choices? Ready to optimize your virtual leadership skills?

Optimal Thinking Executive Coaching averages 11.98 x ROI for every dollar invested.