Top 10 Resignations of 2017: Big Quits and Early Retirements from the Leaders in Turnover Research

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Retensa, Employee Retention Strategies and Research leader, publishes its annual list of the 10 most impactful resignations in the United States across all industries.

Retensa, Employee Retention Strategies and Research leader, publishes its 13th annual list of the 10 most impactful resignations across the United States. Fortunately for readers (but not for everyone else) 2017 was one the most volatile years. Iconic brands contributed to an increasingly unstable workplace as they were rocked by turnover and exits from longtime leadership. “These exits can send a message that their organization is in a state of flux and could be struggling, which at the very least, may bring unwanted PR,” says Retensa CEO, Chason Hecht. The Biggest Quits list is a vital learning experience, and perhaps a warning of caution for leaders.

Industry giants like American Express, Time Magazine, and Applebee’s all saw their leaders abandon ship in the wave of increasing turnover. Hulu saw the CEO stream away to run Sony TV, Expedia drove their CEO to get a better deal at Uber, UnitedHealth was left malnourished after the “Most Successful CEO of His Generation” (Tully, 2017) resigned, and the LA Clippers watched as their court captain jumped to Houston. These big quits reveal issues that go beyond a single catalyst and break into the workplace’s defining social dynamics. In a prime example of the excess turnover that typified 2017, how many senior White House officials stepped out of the office? Answered by Retensa’s Biggest Quits list (, and “Yes”, it was a historic high.

The most significant theme in the state of talent for 2017 was the increased velocity of, and call for, leadership transparency. Sweeping changes are thrust into public eye in weeks instead of years. The stream of Hollywood, government and business resignations reflects a once unstoppable and repulsive workplace culture transformation. The White House Administration experienced record-breaking first-year turnover among senior officials. GE, once synonymous with undaunted leadership, saw 4 of its top executives leave in 3 months. Leaders in the tech industry are changing as quickly as the technology itself. Will this storm of departing leaders that typified 2017 sow the seeds of insecurity, or repair a culture of injustice? The annual Biggest Quits begins to answer that at

About the “Biggest Quits” List
The most significant U.S.-based resignations qualify for inclusion on Retensa’s annual “Biggest Quits” list. To make the Top 10, Retensa applies three criteria: (1) the magnitude of impact on the individual’s industry or field, (2) the financial loss or loss of influence of the enduring organization, and (3) the degree that the enduring organization is unprepared to respond. Join the conversation by tweeting @Retensa with #BigQuit. For the 2017 Top 10, previous lists and contenders who almost made it, visit Retensa’s

About Retensa    
Retensa addresses the social and economic impact of employee turnover for public, private, and non-profit organizations in 44 countries and 12 languages. They combine retention strategies and cloud technology to attract, motivate, and retain employees. To create the “Retention Environment,” Retensa provides expertise in HR Metrics, Employee Surveys, Mentoring, Exit Interviews, and Talent Management.

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Gabriel Stavsky
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