5 Hospital C-suite Trends: Who's Making it to the Corner Office?

View findings as an infographic.
10 Hospital C-Suite Hiring Trends
As headlines herald record-high hospital turnover rates, physician scarcity concerns, and hospital consolidation trends, healthcare’s corner office is feeling the domino effect of a shifting industry landscape.
 
From leadership shuffles amidst mergers to the competitive search for “techlinicians” with both IT and clinical experience, there is no denying the uptick in hospital placement activity. From January through July of this year, 931 personnel changes in hospital leadership were reported in the Billian’s HealthDATA Vitals news lineup, compared to just 678 executive moves during the same period in 2013. 
 
The question is - in a market that’s contracting as providers partner up in pursuit of better care coordination, outcomes, and reimbursements - just where does a frequently closed-circuit industry like healthcare find its next CXO?
 
Researching Hospital Hiring Trends
To better understand where hospitals source their c-suite talent, Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research turned to a sample of 384 executive move news items, documented in Vitals from January to July of 2014, that include details on the positions previously held by new hires. 
 
Titles represented among the 384 executive moves included CEOs (53%), COOs (11%), CFOs (11%), CMOs (4%), CNOs (8%), and VP or Director-level hires (7%).  (The remaining six percent of placement announcements involved personnel migration from the hospital c-suite to the corporate health system.)
 
In addition to documenting current and former positions held by new hires, Billian and Porter researchers coded  the news items as either an internal promotion (including job moves within the same health system) or an external hire (brought in from an unaffiliated organization).
 
Insights into the hospital hiring trends noted among this representative research sample follow.
 
1)  Hospitals Hire More Outside the Org
Sixty percent of hospital placements involved the hire of an outside candidate, with the remaining forty percent of placements representing an internal promotion. The same split is found when looking at CEOs specifically.
2)  Stealing CEOs is Common
Fifty-eight percent of CEO outside-hires were previously CEOs with other hospitals. The next most at-risk position for being picked off by a competitor was COO, representing twenty-seven percent of external placements to CEO.
3)  The Path to CEO: COO?
Forty-four percent of internal CEO promotions migrated up from COO; followed by lateral moves from CEO positions at sister campuses (12%); and internal promotions of CNOs (12%), CFOs (11%), and CMOs (6%). Another five percent of CEO promotions came from integration-specific roles.
4)  Future COO: CNO?
Beyond the third of COO hires that were lateral moves from other hospitals, seventeen percent of hospital COOs were promoted from CNO positions, followed by fourteen percent of COO hires that stepped down from CEO positions at other (presumably smaller) facilities.
5)  CIO Shifts Notably Absent
With the exception of one CIO promotion to CEO, there were no instances of CIO hires with former job details documented among the research sample. This may be indicative of healthcare’s current state of reliance on their key IT officials (and disdain for major personnel shifts in the middle of digital overhauls).

Additional Hospital Hiring Insights
Twenty-eight percent of placements reviewed involved women. Of those female hires, CEO placements were found most frequently (38%), followed by CNO (26%), and COO (13%). Roughly fourteen percent of placements involved physician hires, with MDs seeing an even split among appointments to the CEO and the (more obvious) CMO role (both at 41%).
 
Just three percent of placements reviewed involved new hires from outside the hospital/health system market, with candidates coming from nursing home and surgery center administration roles; academic settings; finance, legal, hospitality and retail industries; and the public health sector.
 
Research as a Provider and Supplier Roadmap
Billian and Porter conducted this analysis in the hopes of offering providers insight into where peer facilities are drawing talent pools from, which may serve as a roadmap in talent acquisition and succession planning endeavors.
 
The research also offers healthcare vendors and suppliers insight into which provider points-of-contact just might be the next hospital CEO, in the hopes of demonstrating the importance in cultivating a long-term engagement strategy with stakeholders throughout the organization.