As some of the elder statesmen of the healthcare industry continue to argue about whether there's sufficient talent in the ranks to replace them, we're moving ahead, unfazed, with our 17th annual Up & Comers recognition program. The program, co-sponsored by Witt/Kieffer, an Oak Brook, Ill.-based executive search firm, honors rising young stars in the healthcare management field. We do so in the belief that not only is the next generation talented, but also the pool of talented young executives is growing.
The nominations are now open for this year's Up & Comers program. Nominees must be 40 years of age or younger. To participate, please submit the candidate's resume along with a letter of no more than three double-spaced pages outlining the nominee's credentials, accomplishments and leadership qualities. Send the material to Up & Comers, c/o David Burda, Editor, Modern Healthcare, 360 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60601. The deadline for nominations is July 7, and the winners will be announced and profiled in the Sept. 15 issue.
Last year, we received a record 120 nominations. From that pool, Modern Healthcare's editorial staff selected 13 recipients, whom we profiled in our Sept. 16, 2002, issue (p. 24). One of our selections, Anthony Munroe, president and chief executive officer of the Economic Opportunity Family Health Center, Miami, subsequently was named young executive of the year by the American College of Healthcare Executives (Feb. 3, p. 32). I met Munroe and several other current and past Up & Comer recipients at a March 19 dinner in Chicago held in their honor. Their passion for their work was apparent as they bubbled when talking about what they do and how they're helping sick people get better. They haven't forgotten why they joined the field in the first place.
Ironically, while the next generation may be ready and able to replace their elders, they may not have as many opportunities as their predecessors. As reporter Patrick Reilly reported in last week's cover story (p. 6), the rate of hospital CEO turnover hit an eight-year low last year at 14%, according to figures released by the ACHE. The lowest turnover rate was 13%, reported by the ACHE in both 1983 and 1990. The preferred explanation for last year's near-record low rate is current CEOs are doing such a great job that their institutions, boards and communities are clamoring for them to stay forever. But as Reilly points out, there may be a host of other reasons that have nothing to do with the CEOs' talents:
* Governing boards are being more patient with CEOs whose hospitals are struggling financially.
* Fewer CEOs are willing to take on the risk of accepting a new position.
* CEOs with ongoing construction projects want to stick around to see their projects completed.
* Many CEOs need to work longer because their retirement funds have been hit hard by the sluggish economy.
* And the pace of job-consolidating hospital mergers and acquisitions has slowed.
Maybe for all those reasons and more, select members of the old guard are saying that the next generation of healthcare executives isn't sufficiently prepared to replace them. Or maybe veteran hospital leaders are learning something from the younger generation, that there was a reason they got into this field in the first place-to help sick people get better.
What do you think?
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