As healthcare providers (payers, health systems, HCIT and the array of service solution providers to these segments) face continued downward pressure on the top-line and with the movement toward more risk-based arrangements, we see the focus on the part of Investors and Boards of Directors increasingly being to find C-Suite executives (CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s, Sales, Technology, etc) who are first and foremost good operational leaders and business people. This is not to say that strategy is not important, far from it. But, as available transactions potentially get smaller or have more challenges to their business models, hands-on leadership with in-depth knowledge of the “levers” that operate a particular business really play an important part in that organization’s success – or failure. This is true for all functions at the C-Suite and not just those with “operations” in their title.
As an example, we are seeing increased demand for CFO’s with strong FP&A skills who can jump into the business and quickly decipher operational issues, be it pricing, product mix, customer relations or internal operational processes. This allows the CEO to free up more time to the strategic nature of the business. The same can be said of functional leaders in sales, technology, marketing and product development/management. The road for financial investors may be longer to a transaction than has been the case in years’ past and the transactions may be smaller and with more challenges impeding EBITDA. Therefore strong operational talents of the C-Suite is imperative to make the investment as attractive to potential buyers as possible. Same is true for strategic buyers. While strategic buyers tend not to look for a transactional sale at the end of the rainbow, they are looking at diversification of their businesses and given their likely shrinking margins, need their acquired assets to be as efficient as possible.
For these and other reasons, C-Suite executives across the healthcare spectrum that possess tangible knowledge of a market and adjuncts to it as well as strong operational pedigrees with hands-on management / leadership styles will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
This post was previously published on LinkedIn.