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3 Key CEO Changes to Watch in 2024

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   January 02, 2024

New leaders will make their impact across the healthcare industry.

As the calendar flips to 2024, several healthcare organizations will turn over their CEO position in the new year.

Health systems, payers, and pharma companies will be affected by leadership changes at the top, whether it’s to shift course with a fresh face or move on from a longtime steady hand.

The changes are coming during a time when CEO turnover is occurring more frequently, according to a report from executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Through the first nine months of 2023, 125 CEO changes took place at hospitals, which was a 67% increase over the 75 changes over the same period in 2022.

Here’s a look at three new CEOs at notable organizations that are worth monitoring in 2024:

Brendan Carr, Mount Sinai Health System

The New York City-based system announced its succession plan to replace Kenneth Davis, who has served as its CEO and predecessor since 2003. Davis will give way to Carr early this year and transition to executive vice chairman of Mount Sinai’s Board of Trustees.

The announcement was a bit of a surprise considering Mount Sinai has said in 2021 that Davis would continue in his role through the end of 2024. However, it’s possible the system wants to proactively put new leadership in place to guide it through financial headwinds, which saw it post a 1.1% EBITDA margin through the first six months of 2023, according to Fitch Ratings. Mount Sinai also announced plans to close its Beth Israel facility in July because of low patient volume, causing it to lose $150 million a year.

Carr is currently a professor of emergency medicine for Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and char of emergency medicine.

Jim Rechtin, Humana

Another succession plan is playing out at Humana, where Rechtin will take over for Bruce Broussard, who has been at the helm of the payer since 2013. Broussard will stay on as a strategic advisor into 2025 while Rechtin serves as president and chief operating officer until moving into the CEO role in the second half of the year.

Of course, Humana’s transition-of-power announcement was soon followed by groundbreaking news that the payer was in merger talks with Cigna. Though the deal ultimately fell apart, it’s possible Humana may still be an acquisition target for Cigna, according to reports.

With no merger currently in the works, Humana can focus on handing over the reins to Rechtin and continue building on its success in Medicare Advantage (MA), where it has the second-largest market share. However, Rechtin will have to steer the payer through a MA landscape that is getting more competitive and less lucrative due to regulatory changes.

Tim Wentworth, Walgreens Boots Alliance

The new leader of the retail pharmacy company has already started his tenure after being appointed this past October, but he’ll have all of 2024 to make his mark on an organization that is in a challenging spot.

Firstly, Wentworth is sliding into the position after CEO Rosalind Brewer abruptly exited in September, which was followed by CFO James Kehoe and CIO Hsiao Wang choosing to depart as well. Though Wentworth is a veteran executive, he’s an external hire with his most recent experience coming as founding CEO of Cigna subsidiary Evernorth.

He’s also stepping into a difficult financial situation as Walgreens announced layoffs for about 10% of its workforce and reported a $180 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2023. Wentworth’s background and expertise appears to align with the direction Walgreens wants to go as it looks to expand beyond its pharmacy business and into a more rounded healthcare organization.

Jay Asser is the contributing editor for strategy at HealthLeaders. 

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