Healthcare CEOs Not Ready to Retire


Most Healthcare Organizations Have No Succession Plan in Place,
According to Witt/Kieffer Survey

Nearly three-quarters of healthcare CEOs betweenthe ages of 55 and 59 have no current plans to retire or are at least five years away from retirement, according to a new national report by Witt/Kieffer, the nation’s leading executive search firm specializing in healthcare and higher education. The report, Future Plans for Transitioning Out of the C-Suite: A Confidential CEO Survey, also reveals that many respondents feel their organization is not prepared for their departure, with more than half saying that no one at their organization is ready to step into the CEO role. Witt/Kieffer recently surveyed 200 hospital and health system CEOs nationwide over the age of 55 about their future plans for retirement and transitioning out of the C-suite.
“Sixty has become the new 50,” said Elaina Genser, Witt/Kieffer senior vice president and western region managing director. “Seventy-one (71) percent of healthcare CEOs aged 55 to 59 have no plans to retire. While it’s encouraging that so many want to see through the challenges healthcare faces, these CEOs will transition out of their role at some point, and the need for succession planning in healthcare organizations is clear.
“The time is now for CEOs to work with their boards and senior management teams to identify and mentor potential successors and develop a succession plan.  Planning today will make the transition smoother for the CEO, board and entire organization when retirement becomes a reality.”
Key survey findings also include:

  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they have goals to achieve before retiring, and 83 percent feel they need to help solve the challenges in healthcare.
  • Nearly three-quarters said that the board does not want them to retire yet.
  • Less than 40 percent of healthcare CEOs have worked with the board to develop a formal succession planning process, and only about one-third have mentored their successor.
  • Between now and retirement, 73 percent want to explore more options for leisure activities, and almost half want to explore a second career, many in teaching or consulting roles.

Seventy-three percent of survey respondents are between the ages of 55 and 62, while about one-quarter are age 63 and over.
Witt/Kieffer is the nation’s largest and most experienced executive search firm specializing inhealthcare, higher education and not-for-profit organizations. Founded in 1969, our mission is to identify outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life.  Clients include hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, life sciences companies including pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies, colleges and universities and community service and cultural institutions. The firm conducts 500 search assignments each year for trustees, presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, physician executives, medical school deans, clinical chairs and other senior executives. Our Solutions for Exceptional Leadership talent management services include leadership assessment, succession planning, onboarding and leadership transition.Visit www.wittkieffer.com for more information.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

Download Now!

About the author

BlueSteps's picture

About BlueSteps

BlueSteps empowers executives to reach their career goals with strategic career planning.


At BlueSteps, we thoughtfully create career management solutions that are designed to help leaders advance their careers, stay on track to build a long-term career playbook, and become a strong leader. Our tools and resources will help you:
  • Advance your career with tools to keep you on track. 
  • Access insider job market intelligence from the experts.
  • Identify and network with the right recruiters.
  • Discover executive jobs and board positions not found elsewhere.
  • Connect with world class career advisors for support when you need it.

Start Owning Your Career Journey >>

Other posts by this author

Share your thoughts

Stay Connected