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10-Year-Contract Extended in Wake of Steady Hospital CEO Turnover Rates

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   August 29, 2023

Tampa General Hospital's CEO agreed to a 10-year contract extension which will give the system stability and continuity through a time of unwavering CEO turnover.

In a move to create stability and continuity during times of high CEO turnover, Tampa General Hospital's (TGH) board of directors recently offered president and CEO John Couris a 10-year contract renewal, following six years of successful leadership.

This news came even before the American College of Healthcare Executives released its annual hospital CEO turnover report, which revealed the turnover rate of hospital CEOs stayed at 16% for the third consecutive year.

With the turnover rate not budging, the TGH board took the opportunity to nip the issue in the bud, by creating one of the only 10-year CEO contracts in healthcare, which benefits both the organization and the organization leader.

In a press release announcing the leadership move, chairman of the Tampa General board of directors, Phil Dingle, said "[John's] vision, approach to innovation, people-focused leadership style, ability to deliver financial stability and growth, and steady hand since assuming the CEO role in 2017 — including leading us through a global pandemic — gives us the utmost confidence Tampa General will continue its extraordinary progress under his leadership … We look forward to John leading the team in this exciting next chapter."

Couris will continue to lead TGH, an academic health system that operates under Florida Health Sciences Center, who is working to design and launch the organization's updated strategic plan for the next five years.

"They knew that there was a lot of turnover in the industry," Couris said of the TGH board.

In fact, there was a recent report released by Challenger, Gray, & Christmas Inc. which found that during the first six months of 2023, hospitals saw a 70% increase year over year in CEO turnover compared to the first six months of 2022.

"What they were thinking is how do we lock down a CEO that is probably at the apex of his career? How do we create consistency, continuity, and stability in the organization? How do we create as much stability for the next decade as possible, given the fact that there's a lot of movement in the industry?" he said.

This gave way to the 10-year contract agreement, which offers the organization that continuity and stability going into the next decade.

"I jumped at the chance because I'm extremely committed to what TGH and USF (the University of South Florida) [have] been creating together over the last five or six years," he added.

Couris' first line of business is to update the organization's strategic plan, which they refresh every five years, and continue leading the organization from being hospital-centric to expanding its care model and operations.

"We're no longer just the hospital; we're a network. We're going to continue to build that network and we're going to wrap around the entire network a care coordination model for our patients that is very patient centered," he said. "One of the biggest problems in healthcare is our lack of and our inability to coordinate care efficiently and effectively to drive quality up and lower cost, and create real value for the consumer. Through care coordination, we're going to continue to drive quality up, drive cost down, and pass that value onto the consumer of healthcare through innovative, collaborative partnerships. That's the future. It's not about building more hospitals—It's about doing better with what we have."

"Now it's my job with my team to continue to execute on our vision, and the vision is very simple: it's to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America," Couris added.

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

Photo credit: Exterior image of Tampa General Hospital at sunset. Photo courtesy of Tampa General Hospital.

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