The Healthcare CFO Search: Does the Perfect Candidate Exist?

Expectations for healthcare CFOs are drastically evolving and expanding. In the past, organizations looked for executives who could expertly manage the bottom line and support their organizations’ long-term financial health and stability.

Today, a typical healthcare CFO search targets an individual who, while still managerial in many respects, is much more strategic and visionary, says Anne Siders-Robinson, Witt/Kieffer senior associate. “Terms like innovative and strategic are often the leading requirements for a CFO,” Siders-Robinson…



Leadership Competencies: Striving for Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a crucial element of leadership success. History is full of great leaders who understood their limitations and played to their strengths. It’s also littered with fallen heroes who overlooked their tragic flaws.

Many high-ranking executives today are lacking in self-awareness, notes Richard Metheny, head of Witt/Kieffer’s Solutions for Exceptional Leadership practice. This isn’t entirely their fault, however. Frequently, he says, the higher a leader rises in an organization, the less constructive feedback…



What’s the Value of Health IT? The CIO Has the Answer

By Nick Giannas, Senior Associate, Witt/Kieffer

As part of National Health IT Week (this week, Sept. 16 to 20), HIMSS is encouraging professionals and observers in the field to blog about the following question: What’s the value of health IT?

In a way, it’s a trick question. There is obvious value. Or rather, IT is invaluable in that it affects all areas across the continuum of healthcare;…



Can Hospital CEOs Find (and Redefine) Success in Centralized Health Systems?

Careerwise, it’s been a challenging few years for just about everyone in healthcare. Professionals have had to reestablish their footing in an era of government reform and shifting paradigms.

Count hospital CEOs among those being challenged, too. As a wave of consolidation washes over the industry, chief executives from what were previously standalone hospitals, clinics, and health centers now find themselves incorporated and integrated into large, centralized health systems. Often, these hospital CEOs are presented with dramatically different or even…



Higher Education Recruitment: 10 Mistakes Search Committees Make

Anyone who’s served on an academic search committee has his or her favorite horror story about candidate missteps—there was the aspiring dean who elegantly fudged the credentials on her curriculum vitae or the presidential hopeful who sported a neon-orange tie. Dennis Barden, senior vice president and consultant in our Higher Education practice, recently outlined for the Chronicle of Higher Education some of the



The Value of Retained Search Firms: Beyond the Limits of LinkedIn

Many casual observers of the retained executive search industry have been quick to sound its death knell, often citing two key factors: LinkedIn and in-house recruiting. LinkedIn, they say, makes recruiting—even at the executive level—a “do it yourself” activity and significantly devalues search firms.

At the same time, mid-size and Fortune 500 companies are establishing and beefing up their internal recruiting teams (even hiring experienced consultants from search firms). “We know ourselves and our needs better than anyone else,” they say,…



Wardell: Executive Management Experience Is Back in Vogue

At the height of the recent recession, plenty of media coverage focused on out-of-work executives struggling to find new positions in a brutal market. Older executives in particular were left out in the cold, with many choosing to retire prematurely or retraining themselves to do something completely new.

Though cautious optimism remains in the economy and job market, hiring is back in most…



CEO Transitions: A Time for Boards to Be Heroic, Too

In The Hero’s Farewell, author Jeffrey Sonnenfeld outlines four distinct typologies among retiring CEOs: the monarch who must be forcibly removed; the general who leaves reluctantly and plots a return; the ambassador who leaves gracefully yet still lends support; and the governor who willingly departs and moves on to other pursuits.

Fortunately, notes Paul Bohne, Witt/Kieffer Senior Vice President, CEO transitions today mostly feature ambassadors and governors. Yet no matter how gracious and…



Success Strategies for Women Leaders in Healthcare

Many women leaders in healthcare who are great at what they do still have difficulty moving up into the C-suite, observes Jena Abernathy, Witt/Kieffer vice president and senior partner. There are many reasons for this, she says, but regardless of what obstacles exist, women in healthcare who aspire to top executive positions must pursue them aggressively, strategically, and without compromise. “You can’t be a little bit CEO,” she says.

Abernathy, a former executive with Premier, Inc., knows about moving up the healthcare…



Who Will Fill Your Shoes? Best Practices for Hiring a Successor

Any conscientious executive knows the value in naming and developing a successor. Given enough time and mentoring, your understudy can learn the ropes, gain critical experience and, when the time is right, take over your responsibilities in what is hopefully a seamless transition. Such leadership succession planning is good for the organization, not to mention the fact that it reflects well upon your own legacy.

David Boggs, practice leader of