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Health system CEO turnover rose in 2022 as more executives feel the strain from burnout

January 23, 2023 – By Dave Muoio

CEO turnover among the country’s leading health systems returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 though more of the industry’s executives now say they are feeling the strain of burnout, according to a pair of new reports.

The past year saw 24 new appointees take up the chief executive mantle at one of the nation’s 150 largest (by total operating revenue) health systems, according to a research brief from the Health Management Academy (HMA). This was up from 2020’s nine new appointments and 2021’s 12 and roughly on par with 2019’s 25.

Nearly 3 in 5 of the new CEOs were internal hires with an average of 14 years of service at their organization, the group found.

“[Leading health systems] continue to value the institutional knowledge offered by internal candidates for the CEO role, often using board seats as opportunities to bring on external or out-of-industry expertise to guide system strategy,” the HMA wrote in its research brief.

However, only one of those 24 new CEO appointments was female, “a significant drop” from the 18% female CEO turnover rate of 2021 and the pre-pandemic rate of 19%, the group wrote.

The lone female appointee was Allina Health’s Lisa Shannon, who stepped into the role in January 2022 and was preceded by another woman, Penny Wheeler, M.D.

Two-thirds of the past year’s new CEOs came from a president or chief operating officer role. The remaining third came in from another CEO role.


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President and CEO of Ortho Spine Partners and sits on several company and industry related Boards. He also is the Creator and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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