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 Andrew Chastain, managing partner of Witt/Kieffer’s Southern Region. Today’s healthcare executive compensation packages are about “literal outcomes,” he says. Boards use compensation strategies that involve…



Diverse Leadership in Higher Education: Time to Get (More) Serious

Most institutions of higher education today are “very serious” about developing diversity among their top administrators, believes Witt/Kieffer senior partner Oliver Tomlin. That’s a vast improvement from the past, he says. But it doesn’t mean that schools and search committees still can’t learn a thing or two about developing diverse leadership—a recent American Council on Education (ACE) survey noted that minority representation among higher ed leadership has…



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 Institutional Advancement: Finding Opportunity in Leadership Transition

Few things stress advancement and development professionals as much as turnover at the top of their organizations. In higher education institutional advancement offices, entire campaigns and carefully nurtured relationships can be dashed if the transition of a new president, provost, or dean isn’t managed smoothly or the new leader has other, unanticipated priorities. The best way to respond to the uncertainty of leadership turnover is for the chief development officer and colleagues to be proactive, and positive, says Witt/Kieffer…



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…



Healthcare Succession Planning: A Go-To Guide

Guest post by Charles (Chuck) W.B. Wardell, III, President and CEO

Rarely a month goes by in the healthcare world when we don’t hear about a high-profile CEO or other top executive stepping down. Even in those cases in which the retirement is predictable or unsurprising, organizations are often unprepared to take decisive next steps in choosing new leaders. In the throes of healthcare reform or major projects and initiatives, they often push succession planning to the back burner.

What many…



Health Plan Leadership: Executives with Private and Public Experience Wanted

After years of consolidation amongst private commercial health plans, large insurers like Aetna and WellPoint recently shifted their gaze toward the public realm. With Medicare and Medicaid expansion impending and millions more people gaining health insurance, private insurers have targeted federal health programs and managed-care businesses with significant Medicare and Medicaid components.

The mergers and acquisitions have blurred the lines between what were previously very distinct worlds, creating leadership challenges for both public and private health plans, says

Nonprofit Executive Search: A Scientific Success Story

Finding successful leaders for not-for-profits is no easier than for corporations—all top executives today need broad skill sets combined with the ability to think strategically and with vision.

When the Union of Concern Scientists (UCS) set out recently to find a Director for its new Center for Science and Democracy, it sought someone who was a demonstrated leader, proven scientific intellectual, a specialist in public policy, and PR/communications expert. It…



Recruiting Board Members: Should You Add Outsiders to the Mix?

Given today’s seismic changes in healthcare, hospitals and health systems are looking more strategically at the composition of their boards and the qualities each member brings to the boardroom table. A good board can be a clear competitive advantage.

Most organizations see board diversity as a cornerstone of board health and success. But achieving diversity—of race and ethnicity, of gender, of age, and of skills—often requires boards…