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…



Life Sciences Executive Search: Best Practices in CEO Transitions

In his 30 years at GlaxoSmithKline, in particular as head of Human Resources, Dan Phelan played an integral role in the company’s most significant leadership transitions. This included the successful CEO hand-off between J.P. Garnier and Andrew Witty in 2008. Witty, promoted from within, has proven to be one of the more dynamic leaders in the industry.

In the following interview, Phelan looks at the question of whether to pursue internal or external candidates in a life sciences executive search, and…



In Healthcare, Is There a Link between Good Talent Management and ROI?

Although today’s healthcare organizations have well-developed talent management practices, few have an in-depth understanding of the return on investment these practices provide. To better gauge this ROI, Witt/Kieffer has supported the work of Pepperdine University professor Kevin Groves, Ph.D., who recently conducted a comprehensive survey of senior HR officers and other industry executives in charge of talent management within their organizations.

Dr. Groves’ work explores and draws conclusions regarding several critical issues:

  • There is a strong connection between good talent management…