CEO Succession Planning: Helping Boards Prepare for a Smooth Transition

Guest Post by Jena E. Abernathy and Andrew P. Chastain

It is the dread of every hospital board of directors across the country: an esteemed, longtime CEO announces the intention to resign. A replacement must be found, and the transition—as perceived by patients and the community—must be seamless. With foresight, however, executive transitions need not shock the system, and effective CEO succession planning can give your hospital or healthcare system an opportunity to explore alternative philosophies, practices, and even new…



Strategic Skills Critical When Filling Board Member Positions

By Jim Gauss

With talent in short supply, today’s executives work hard to fill open board member positions with highly strategic, broad-based thinkers. Organizations that want to position themselves for growth and competitive advantage place a high priority on key skill sets like information technology, treasury and merger-and-acquisition experience.

It wasn’t too long ago that hospitals and universities sought the chief financial officer of a local business to…



Managing Diversity: 5 Ways Your Board Can Get Results

Guest post by Jim Gauss and Howard Jessamy

Managing Diversity: 5 Ways Your Board Can Get Results

Fourth in a series of findings from Witt/Kieffer’s 2011 national survey report Building the Business case. Healthcare Diversity Leadership.

Over the past few months in this series on advancing leadership diversity, I’ve shared some key findings from our 2011 national survey report, noted specific barriers  to improving and managing diversity in a meaningful way, explained why mentoring is the number one best practice to use, and…



The Board’s Role in CEO Transition—Part 2

Guest post by Karen Otto

My last post focused on the lead-up to a health care CEO transition. Now let’s look at the actual transfer of power.

Any transition plan should approach transferring authority in a way that minimizes organizational disruption and maintains employee, physician, and community good will. Once a new CEO has been chosen, it is important to let that person lead with minimal interference. For example, if the incumbent has a continuing role with the organization, handle all…



The Board’s Role in CEO Transition—Part 1

Guest post by Karen Otto

When a health care CEO leaves—whether the departure is expected or unplanned—the board needs to be in control. A transition in leadership can be a turbulent time. Organizations can avoid the turmoil by putting a transition plan in place proactively.

Start here and now

Identify a transition team. Which board members—the executive committee or the whole board—will be responsible for the transition process?

Revisit your leadership profile

Organizations grow and change, and the transition team should review ideal leadership…



The Care and Feeding of the 24/7 University President

Guest post by John Thornburgh

Attention university trustees: Protect your academic chief executive.

Running a university is unpredictable and stressful, and it takes a 24/7 commitment, yet most academic presidents wouldn’t trade their roles for anything. These men and women are patient, confident, optimistic, energetic – and rare.

Recognize that a great president counts among your institution’s most valuable assets, and be sure that your board is aware of how important it is to properly care for and protect him or her….



Four Ways to Make CEO Transition Work

Guest blog by Jim Gauss

The margin for error in the selection and onboarding of hospital and health system CEOs is thin and getting thinner with the passage of health care reform legislation. The selection process can be tough and time-consuming. Trustees or board members may want to sit back and take a breather after they’ve made their choice of a leader.

Don’t do it!

Here are some strategies that may help avoid having to repeat the search process too soon:

1. Match…