Expect to pay more for a new executive

Large health care organizations are typically luring new chief executive officers (CEOs) to take the helm with promises of one-third more in base salary and a 28% incentive bonus, says one of the country’s largest health care executive search firms, Witt/Kieffer Ford, Hadelman & Lloyd in Oak Brook, IL.

Analysis of data on 314 executives placed in hospitals, health systems, managed care companies, and other health care organizations during a recent 12-month period found that the average base salary for health care CEOs is now $158,000, a 32% boost over previous pay, plus a 28% bonus incentive.

Health care chief operating officers (COOs) are typically earning $146,300 with a 15% bonus potential, while chief financial officers (CFOs) make $115,600 in base salary and 21% in bonus pay.

The big pay hikes reflect the fact that the best candidates are rarely in the job market and have to be lured away from current employers, says Jordan Hadelman, Witt/Kieffer president and CEO.

A similar survey of 247 physician executives in spring 1996 found that they earn an average of $172,000 annually. Physician executives in hospitals and health systems earn on average $183,000, while those in managed care and insurance companies typically earn $153,000. For more details on these studies, contact Susan Nalepa with Witt/Kieffer at (630) 990-1370, ext. 209.