Common Well being Providers CEO Alan Miller—the second longest serving CEO of a publicly traded firm behind Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet—introduced Tuesday he’ll hand over the reins to his son in January.
“I’m nonetheless CEO till January 1st,” Miller mentioned in an interview with Trendy Healthcare. “If Warren Buffet retires earlier than then, I’ll get one other title.”
At 83, Miller can be one of many oldest Fortune 500 CEOs. He is led King of Prussia, Pa.-based UHS since founding the corporate with six staff in 1979, rising it to an enormous enterprise with 90,000 staff, about 400 amenities within the U.S., Puerto Rico and the UK and $11.four billion in income in 2019.
“Few folks have as a lot endurance as he has,” mentioned Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, a for-profit hospital commerce group. “I feel that is as a result of he is carried out.”
Over the previous 4 many years, Miller has saved his firm on a brief leash. He at present holds 85% voting management and his successor, Marc Miller, mentioned that is unlikely to vary underneath his watch.
Even after he steps down from the CEO spot, the elder Miller will proceed in his function as government chairman of UHS’ board along with different administration obligations. He’ll additionally proceed to function CEO of Common Well being Realty Earnings Belief, an actual property funding belief he based in 1986 that has 71 investments throughout 20 states.
UHS’ inventory worth was down three.7% at Tuesday’s market shut. Marc Miller cautioned the announcement marks the rollout of UHS’ longstanding succession plan and does not sign an operational shift. That is true for the handfuls of potential well being system partnerships UHS is at present mulling.
“No one ought to assume that simply because we’re having this alteration proper now that any of that may change so far as our outlook and our technique,” he mentioned.
Marc Miller has been with UHS for about 25 years, and has served as president for nearly 12. Previous to turning into president, he was the corporate’s senior vp and president of its acute-care division. He earned an MBA from the College of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Faculty and a bachelor’s diploma from the College of Vermont.
Earlier than forming UHS, Alan Miller’s earlier hospital firm, American Medicorp, was topic to a hostile takeover by Humana. That will assist clarify his longtime observe of holding overwhelming energy over the corporate’s choices.
“He felt like he was on the verge of unlocking worth, and that firm was taken over by a 3rd occasion,” mentioned A.J. Rice, a healthcare providers analyst with Credit score Suisse. “He all the time wished to be within the driver’s seat of figuring out when a giant strategic choice was being made, that a quick time period transfer in inventory would not dictate that.”
Some shareholders have quibbled with UHS’ construction through the years, however for essentially the most half, individuals who purchase UHS inventory perceive the dynamic going into it, Rice mentioned.
Relating to hospital chains, UHS is the closest factor to a family-run firm there’s, mentioned Paul Keckley, longtime business guide and managing editor of the Keckley Report. The extent of energy concentrated on the high is exclusive, and it is supported by a small board that provides its CEO numerous latitude, he mentioned.
“This one is approach past anything that I’ve seen,” Keckley mentioned.
Alan Miller provided no particular philosophy to elucidate his excessive degree of management. As he put it, it is simply that he believes within the firm.
“I’ve been glad to put money into the corporate and keep invested within the firm and we’re shareholders similar to each different shareholder,” Miller mentioned.
In describing his administration model, Alan Miller mentioned it is all about placing mission first—the mission being caring for sufferers in a superior approach. He mentioned UHS’ administration sees that as its main duty.
As such, he shortly disregarded allegations from 19 lawsuits UHS not too long ago paid $122 million to settle. In these instances, whistleblowers accused the corporate’s behavioral well being hospitals of fraudulently admitting sufferers and unnecessarily extending their lengths of keep, amongst different issues, to drive up reimbursement from insurers.
“We had been by no means responsible,” Alan Miller mentioned, “and after 6 years the federal government gave up and there’s nothing else to say about it. We now have 300-some amenities they usually do a terrific job. There might have been an sad worker, and that is that.”
The huge authorities investigation has been a cloud over UHS for years, and the corporate’s chief monetary officer had been vocal about his want to succeed in a conclusion. UHS’ inventory worth jumped greater than 10% when the preliminary settlement was introduced final 12 months.
Alan Miller graduated from the Faculty of William and Mary in Virginia after which went on to serve within the U.S. Military. He earned an MBA from the Wharton Faculty of the College of Pennsylvania. He is garnered various enterprise awards through the years and Trendy Healthcare has positioned him on its 100 Most Influential Individuals in Healthcare record for the previous 17 years.
From the beginning, Alan Miller mentioned he wished his firm to have three legs: acute-care hospitals, behavioral well being and a global division. He mentioned that construction has served it effectively.
Alan Miller’s choice to get into the behavioral well being enterprise early on was a key consider UHS’ success through the years. The sector has emerged as a progress enterprise over the previous 15 years because the stigma round searching for psychological well being remedy has lifted and insurance coverage protection has improved, Rice mentioned.
Rice added that underneath Alan Miller’s watch, UHS has accomplished job of finding in rising markets, particularly Las Vegas, and sustaining a conservative stability sheet, which has helped the corporate make the most of numerous alternatives.
“Individuals would say he is one of many icons of the business,” he mentioned.