Entrepreneur Helped Firms Lower Costs of Firing Executives

(p. A6) James Challenger had tried law, advertising and manufacturing of gas heaters before dreaming up in the mid-1960s what he called a wild idea: persuading companies to pay him to help find new jobs for executives and middle managers they were laying off.

His firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, offered what came to be known as outplacement services. The initial reaction from companies, he said later, was why should we help people we’re firing?

The aptly named Mr. Challenger, who died Aug. 30 [2019] at age 93, struggled for years to persuade companies it was good business to be nice to people heading involuntarily out the door.

For the full obituary, see:

Hagerty, James R. “Wild Idea Created Outplacement Services.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019): A6.

(Note: bracketed year added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary has the date Sept. 20, 2019, and has the title “James Challenger Helped Create Market for Outplacement Services.”)

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