Hospital CEO exits hit 4-year high

Hospital CEO exits hit a high in January, with 23 departures announced being the highest CEO turnover across 29 industries, according to one new analysis. 

The finding comes from a Feb. 28 report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an executive coaching firm that analyzes CEO turnover in the U.S. on a monthly basis. 

Hospital CEO changes made up 21 percent of all CEO exits announced in January across the 29 industries and sectors measured by the firm. The 23 changes mark the highest monthly total for the sector in 4.5 years, when 24 hospital CEOs left their positions in August 2018.

"Hospitals and hospital systems have undergone incredible challenges over the last three years as the pandemic raged, burned out health care workers, and pushed resources to the limits," said Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. "Some of these leaders themselves are likely burned out as well, while others are moving to different hospitals to execute skills they've gained during those difficult times." 

The finding for January marks a change in direction from a relatively stable 2022. The 103 CEO moves within hospitals throughout 2022 were down 8 percent from the 112 recorded in 2021. The number marked the second-to-lowest annual total since Challenger, Gray & Christmas began recording hospital CEO exits in 2015. The only other year that brought fewer CEO exits was 2020, when 101 changes were recorded as executives delayed retirements or exit plans amid the tumult of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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