Health care CEO turnover outpaces other industries

Experts attribute leadership changes to regulation challenges

Topics: Succession Management, Leadership, Workforce, High-Potential Employee Development, Turnover, Recruitment and Retention

February 29, 2012

Twenty-five health care CEOs left their posts in January 2012, up from just nine in January 2011, according to a recent report.

The report—which was issued by outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas—also found that CEO turnover in health care outpaced other industries in 2011; an average of about 16 health care CEOs left their positions each month.

Some of the increased health care turnover can be attributed to hospital leaders moving into consulting work as they face regulation challenges, particularly those presented by federal health reform law implementation, The Fiscal Times reports.

"We're seeing a growing number of executives…say, 'I've gone through major changes in health care, and I'm not really in a position where I want to go through this major change again,'" says Mark Madden, a senior VP at health care executive recruitment firm B. E. Smith.

Turnover up across all industries
The report found that overall CEO turnover in January 2012 surged: 123 executives left their posts. The number represents a 48% increase in turnover over December 2011 and the most monthly turnover since May 2010.

Although leadership switches can lead to change, Matt McGreal, a principal at CEO search firm Christ|Kolder Associates, says they rarely bring about massive restructuring and instead create opportunities for other high-performing employees to be promoted (Challenger, Gray & Christmas release, 2/8; Hirsch, The Fiscal Times, 2/23; Sell, "Philly Parma," Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/13).

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