Recruiting Life Sciences Executives: Three CEO Archetypes

By Morten Nielsen

No two life sciences companies follow the same path of growth and development, but they often do go through similar phases as they transition over years from inception to commercialization. The same CEO is rarely equipped to run a drug, device, or diagnostic company from beginning to end, as leadership needs evolve at the same rate as the growing enterprise.

Therefore, different CEOs are often needed to optimize the different phases of growth. There can be many phases…



Barden’s Best: Sage Advice for Academic Candidates and Search Committees

The CASE Leadership Summit is in full swing in Chicago, marking one of the social and intellectual highlights of the year for advancement leaders in higher education. A Witt/Kieffer contingent including senior partner Dennis Barden and consultants Zachary Smith and Mercedes Vance will be on hand for the proceedings.

Barden is not only one of our firm’s most experienced search consultants (in advancement…



Can Healthcare Governance Get to Great? (Yes. Here’s How.)

By Andrew Chastain, Kimberly Smith, FACHE, and James Gauss

It is easy to spot high-functioning hospital and health system boards. Their trustees are skilled, committed to their organizations, and care about making a real difference in people’s lives.

But excellence in healthcare governance is not something that we see throughout the industry and can be inconsistent from one boardroom to…



Where Will Tomorrow’s Children’s Hospital Leaders Come From?

By James U. King III and Christine Mackey-Ross

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” –Bill Gates

If there were ever a time to make serious plans for the development and transitioning of senior executives at children’s hospitals, it is now. Child health issues ranging from Medicaid reform and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to childhood obesity and pediatric research present major challenges….



Recruiting Great Leaders to Rural Hospitals

By Jim King, Senior Partner, Chief Quality Officer

In simpler times, rural hospitals rarely competed with urban or even suburban ones for top leadership talent. Administrators tended to gravitate towards those communities or cities that felt like home to…



Leadership Transitions: Handling a Search with a “Hand-Picked” Successor

Recently, Major League Baseball formed a committee to find a successor to current commissioner Bud Selig, who has been at his post 20 years. It appears, however, that Selig already has someone he’d like to see take his place—current MLB COO Rob Manfred. Not all of the league’s owners agree with Selig’s candidate of choice.

The situation piqued the interest of our CEO Charles W.B. Wardell, III in that it is reminiscent…



For Healthcare CEOs, Times of Turmoil and Turnover

Healthcare CEO turnover is at an all-time high—20 percent in 2013, as compared to a historical average around 15 percent, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Witt/Kieffer senior partner Donna Padilla, speaking recently to Deanna Pogorelc of MedCity News, but does suggest a general turmoil and transformation taking place across the industry.



Developing the Next Generation of Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education

By Lucy Leske and Oliver Tomlin

The role of chief diversity officer within colleges and universities has blossomed and evolved over the years. It has gone from being a primarily tactical position to a strategic one, requiring a much more multifaceted skill set than in the past. “The successful diversity leader needs negotiating, diplomatic, communication, and analytical skills in addition to educational credentials,” we

CEO Compensation Strategies: Getting Literal about Incentives and Severance

Healthcare CEOs are used to having various incentives built into their compensation packages. Traditionally, however, these incentives related loosely to the organization’s financials, or if a measurement related to institutional quality, it tied primarily to patient satisfaction.

No longer, says Witt/Kieffer’s Andrew Chastain. Today’s healthcare executive compensation packages are about “literal outcomes,” he says. Boards use compensation strategies that involve more sophisticated short- and…



CEO Transition: What HR Execs Need to Know

Most every organization craves a dynamic, larger-than-life figure as its CEO—a person who instills confidence, motivates, and carries forth a vision for success. The CEO needs to be someone who can build a large, loyal following among employees.

But what happens when the CEO is let go? The larger the persona, the more loyal the following, the harder it is for the organization to transition to a new CEO at the helm. A classic example is when Men’s Wearhouse founder George…