When is the right time for hospital CEOs to announce their departures?

Hospital CEO turnover rate remains high as many executives seek new opportunities or decide to retire. But when is the right time for CEOs to announce their departure from an organization? It depends, according to experts interviewed by Becker's Hospital Review.

Paul Esselman, senior executive vice president and managing director at Cejka Search, told the publication that CEOs should time the transition based upon the circumstances of the departure. He suggested retiring CEOs give a six- to 12-month notice, while CEOs leaving to take another job allow six months transition time.

But others say even more time is appropriate, with a window of nine to 12 months to allow time for a board to recruit a new leader. At the very least, CEOs need to give at least 60 days notice to their hospital board and executive team.

Deciding how much notice to give can be tricky. A CEO who gives too much time and announces he or she plans to retire in a year or two can create uncertainty for employees and the hospital board. CEOs leaving for another job will not want to show their hand and need to delay giving news of their departure until they have a firm job offer.

One piece of advice: CEOs should leave on as positive a note as possible and make sure a succession plan is in place so they can assist their successors while they prepare to step aside. With CEO and administrator turnover rates so high, hospital board members must be prepared to take a fresh look at future prospects through succession planning and realize that there will not always be a smooth transition.

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