Witt/Kieffer Presents Succession Planning for Senior CEOs

A wave of CEO retirements is about to hit the senior living industry. This presents an obvious concern within organizations and across the industry: Who will lead in the future?

To find out more about the scope of the issue and organizations’ preparedness to deal with it, Witt/Kieffer recently conducted a targeted survey of top industry leaders. Forty-seven individuals identified as CEO/President, Executive Director or Administrator of multi-site and single site organizations nationwide were polled. Questions covered executive tenure and plans for retirement as well as the status of organizational succession planning, succession planning philosophies and responsibilities, and institutional challenges faced in the process.

Today’s continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) and other senior living organizations face the inevitable departure of key senior leaders. Industry consolidation, service diversification, and the push toward population health are just a few factors that  are reshaping the senior living field – and organizations’ leadership teams. While significant executive turnover has not traditionally been a concern in senior care, a recent Witt/Kieffer survey suggests that a wave of retirement is coming. Meanwhile, the pool of qualified candidates to replace these outgoing executives is not sufficient. A clear solution to this dilemma is comprehensive succession planning in senior living organizations. Succession planning is widely accepted as a means to ensure smooth transitioning among leaders and to develop a pipeline of up-and-coming executives. It also:

• is a sign of proactive governance

• creates confidence within the organization

• addresses outside stakeholders’ desires for planning; protects bond ratings

• initiates discussion regarding CEO and top leader competencies and responsibilities

• supports CEO and senior leadership evaluations

In short, succession planning is vitally important, and this is especially true in the shifting senior living sector today. And yet it is safe to say that the practice is not nearly as entrenched as it should be.

The survey by Witt/Kieffer of chief executives at CCRCs and other senior living organizations found that, while nearly all respondents believe in the need for good succession planning, not enough have made it a priority

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