Senior Care CEOs: Succession Planning Essential to Preserve Mission

By Diane Tanking and Elaina Genser

Diane Tanking

Diane Tanking

According to a recent survey by our firm, there has been remarkable stasis at the top of the senior-living industry: more than half of the chief executives we polled have been in place for 10 or more years. It’s not unusual to hear of CEOs who have served for more than two decades. This degree of strong leadership stability is enviable but not sustainable. Indeed, most senior-living executives we speak with expect a coming wave of retirements.

This presents an obvious concern within CCRCs (continuing care retirement communities) and other senior-care organizations: Who will lead in the future?

Elaina Genser

Elaina Genser

For the report “Succession Planning for Senior Living CEOs,” Witt/Kieffer polled 47 leaders identified as CEO/president, Executive Director or Administrator of both multi-site and single site organizations nationwide. Among the intriguing findings: almost all of those surveyed believe in the idea of succession planning, but a much smaller segment actively pursues it. Succession is often left up to boards, or greatly diminished on the list of leadership priorities.

There is an obvious need for increased succession planning. In a tight talent market, organizations cannot depend on the ability to recruit dynamic new CEOs from the outside and have them transition quickly and seamlessly. Succession planning “is needed to secure the mission and health of the organization,” one respondent noted.

The chart below indicates CEOs’ opinions on issues related to their succession:

Senior Care Graph

For more on this topic, please read “Succession Planning for Senior Living CEOs.”


Diane Tanking is the leader of Witt/Kieffer’s Senior Care/Home Care/Hospice Practice, while Elaina Genser is a senior partner with the firm.

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