Acadia Healthcare Names Humana Veteran Christopher Hunter CEO

Franklin, Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare Company Inc. (Nasdaq: ACHC) has announced a replacement for retiring CEO Debbie Osteen.

The company’s board of directors announced on Friday that it has named Christopher Hunter to the role. He will also hold a seat on the board, according to a news release.

He starts on April 11.


“The board conducted a thorough and highly selective process to find a chief executive officer who would complement our existing executive team and build on our strong foundation,” Reeve Waud, Acadia Healthcare’s board chair, said in the release. “Chris brings the right combination of skills and expertise to lead Acadia as we continue to extend our market reach to meet the behavioral health needs of millions of Americans.”

Hunter’s “proven track record of leadership and innovative growth” within the health care sector will help Acadia Healthcare continue to execute its strategic growth plan with “favorable results,” Waud added.

Most recently, Hunter worked as the president of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM)’s group, military and specialty segment — overseeing three distinct business units that brought in about $7 billion in revenue and served 20 million members across 45 states. He also served as Humana’s chief strategy officer with responsibility for all corporate strategy, merger and acquisitions and partnership activities.


Humana recently completed the largest transaction in its history, acquiring 100% of home health giant Kindred at Home for $5.7 billion last year.

“This is an incredible honor, and I am excited to join such a strong, respected organization that is addressing a critical societal need at a pivotal time for our country,” Hunter said in the release. “With a growing patient base and an industry-leading executive team already in place, I’m looking forward to building on the successful trajectory set by Debbie and the leadership team.”

Hunter’s resume also includes board positions with special acquisition corporation AfterNext HealthTech (NYSE: AFTR); health care IT companies Availity and TriZetto Healthcare Products; and Youth Villages and the UNC-Chapel Hill Honors Program.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Osteen announced her retirement in October 2021, setting a departure date for Jan. 31.

Osteen took over as Acadia Healthcare’s CEO in December 2018 after Joey Jacobs had been ousted from the position.

Prior to her stint as Acadia’s CEO, Osteen had been the behavioral health division president of Universal Health Services (NYSE: UHS). Osteen was with UHS for 35 years and had been planning on retiring from her post before she accepted the Acadia offer.

She delayed her departure until the end of March “to assist with and ensure a smooth transition of leadership.”

Acadia Healthcare is the nation’s largest pure-play behavioral health company. It operated 238 behavioral healthcare facilities with approximately 10,500 beds in 40 states and Puerto Rico, at the end of 2021. It employs 22,500 people that serve approximately 70,000 patients a day.

Acadia Healthcare posted $2.3 billion in revenue and $190.6 million in net income in 2021. Revenue increased 10.7% year-over-year while the company saw an $860 million swing from a $669 million loss in 2020 to profitability in 2021.

The company says it’s prepped for growth mode and has an apparent all-of-the-above approach to growth.

Acadia Healthcare projects that it will add 600 new beds through many avenues in 2022 and will continue to add between 600 and 1,100 beds in 2023 and 2024 each through a balance of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures with other health care organizations and de novo growth.

Companies featured in this article: