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As CEOs Postpone Retirement, Succession Plans Still Matter

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 13, 2012

It might be the challenge of being on the playing field for the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Or, it might be a lack of qualified successors, or a board of directors that just can't say goodbye, or even something as mundane as a gutted 401(k).

Whatever the reason, many healthcare CEOs age 55 and older say they're in no hurry to retire.

A May survey of 200 CEOs by executive search firm Witt/Kieffer found that only 24% are planning to retire within four to five years. Of those, 14% will retire within three years and 8% plan to retire within one year.
Nearly half of respondents?42%?are more than five years away from retirement and 12% have no retirement plans in place.

Most surprisingly, of those in the age 55-59 group, 71% either have no retirement plans, or plan to retire in more than five years.

Elaina Genser, senior vice president/managing director at Witt/Kieffer's western region says 88% of the CEOs say they have goals achieve before they retire and 83% said they wanted to help with the challenges ahead in healthcare, including PPACA.

"There are a lot of them thinking 'this the biggest thing since Medicare. I want to be part of it, and then I can leave,'" Genser tells HealthLeaders Media.

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