Universal Health Services CEO Alan Miller—the second-longest serving CEO of a U.S. publicly traded company behind Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett—announced Tuesday he'll hand over the reins to his son in January.
"I am still CEO until Jan. 1," Miller said in an interview with Modern Healthcare. "If Warren Buffett retires before then, I will get another title."
At 83, Miller is also one of the oldest Fortune 500 CEOs. He's led King of Prussia, Pa.-based UHS since founding the company with six employees in 1979, growing it to a massive enterprise with 90,000 employees; about 400 facilities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom; and $11.4 billion in revenue in 2019.
"Few people have as much staying power as he has," said Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, a for-profit hospital trade group. "I think that's because he's performed."
Over the past four decades, Miller has kept his company on a short leash. He currently holds 85% voting control and his successor, Marc Miller, said that's unlikely to change under his watch.
Even after he steps down from the CEO spot, the elder Miller will continue in his role as executive chairman of UHS' board in addition to other management responsibilities. He'll also continue to serve as CEO of Universal Health Realty Income Trust, a real estate investment trust he founded in 1986 that has 71 investments across 20 states.
UHS' stock price was down 3.7% at Tuesday's market close. Marc Miller cautioned the announcement marks the rollout of UHS' longstanding succession plan and doesn't signal an operational shift. That's true for the dozens of potential health system partnerships UHS is currently mulling.
"Nobody should think that just because we're having this change right now that any of that will change as far as our outlook and our strategy," he said.
Marc Miller has been with UHS for about 25 years, and has served as president for almost 12. Prior to becoming president, he was the company's senior vice president and president of its acute-care division. He earned an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont.