Hospital CEO departures dropped in 2022

Even with the drop, the number of changes was among the highest of all sectors, according to a report tracking executive exits.

Despite the challenges of running hospitals in the COVID-19 pandemic, chief executive officers were less likely to depart for greener pastures over the past year.

In 2022, 103 hospital CEO changes were reported, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a firm that tracks executive departures. That’s down a bit from the 112 hospital CEO changes in 2021, the firm said in the report published Jan. 19.

Companies in the healthcare and health products industry announced 111 CEO departures in 2022, which is a drop from the 124 reported in 2021. Across all industries, CEOs were more likely to stick around in 2022, the report said.

Still, the hospital and healthcare industries were among the sectors with the most CEO exits, according to the report. Given the economic headaches, labor shortages, and supply chain headaches hospitals have faced, it’s understandable that some chief executives would want to consider other opportunities.

“The pandemic changed how many hospitals and health care companies operated. The industry was plagued by staffing issues and burnout at all levels,” Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said in a statement accompanying the report.

The pharmaceutical sector witnessed more executive exits. Among drug companies, there were 34 CEO changes in 2022, up from 24 in 2021.

Fewer CEO changes were reported across all sectors.

In 2022, companies reported 1,235 CEO exits, a 8% drop from the 1,337 CEO exits that occurred in 2021. It’s the lowest number of CEO departures since 2017, according to the report.

“Companies appear to be holding steady with their leadership after years of leadership changes and unprecedented uncertainty,” Challenger said in a statement.

The government/non-profit sector experienced 271 CEO changes, the most of all sectors, while the technology sector was a distant second, with 137 announced changes at the top.

Many CEOs (308) chose to retire in 2022, while 272 chief executives stepped into other positions in the company, usually in a board or other C-suite role.

Some hospital CEOs left for other opportunities. Wright L. Lassiter III took over his new role as CEO of CommonSpirit Health in August after leading Henry Ford Health for several years.

Paul Rothman, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, retired last summer. Intermountain Healthcare CEO Marc Harrison stepped down last fall to accept a new position to run a healthcare platform business for General Catalyst. The organization, now known as Intermountain Health, named Rob Allen as the new CEO in November.

Across all sectors, the number of CEOs who were terminated rose slightly, moving from 9 in 2021 to 12 in 2022.

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