Witt/Kieffer Appoints New CEO

Leading executive search firm Witt/Kieffer announced today the appointment of Andrew P. Chastain to the position of CEO, effective July 1, 2017. Chastain has been with Witt/Kieffer since 1997 and currently serves as Managing Partner and Chair of the firm’s Healthcare Practice. He succeeds Charles W.B. Wardell III, CEO since 2011, who will remain in his position until June 30, 2017 and afterwards serve as a Senior Advisor to the firm.

Chastain has more than 20 years of healthcare leadership and executive search experience and plans to remain active in these areas. He will continue to partner with health systems, major hospitals, academic medical centers, and other healthcare clients to identify CEOs and senior executive leaders. As CEO, he will also oversee operations and strategy of the firm’s major practices, including Healthcare, Education, Life Sciences, and the WK Advisors division. Chastain has made a significant impact across the firm for the past two decades. Beginning in 1997, he served as the Managing Partner of Witt/Kieffer’s Southern Region for seven years and then as co-leader of the Central Region for three years. Chastain fostered success across both regions, while continuing his search work and serving on the firm’s Board of Directors. In his roles as Board Treasurer and Vice Chair, he helped govern and direct the strategy and operations for the firm. In 2015, Chastain spearheaded a successful account management initiative to provide dedicated, expanded recruitment services to major clients. For his innovative approaches to addressing clients’ leadership needs, Chastain received the 2016 “Future of the Profession” award from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants, which honors professionals with significant contributions to the search industry.

“I’m deeply honored and excited to take the reins as CEO at a time of such strength and growth for Witt/Kieffer,” said Chastain. “While there is rapid change occurring across the search industry, and in the industries we serve, I am very optimistic about our opportunities to thrive in this dynamic time. Clients are increasingly looking to us to act as trusted partners and advisors who understand their industry and know how critical the right leadership is to their success. I look forward to serving our clients as they flex for the future, as well as transforming our own firm to meet the needs of our dynamic industry.”

Wardell noted: “Andrew has been a respected and proven leader throughout his time at Witt/Kieffer. The Board is confident that his deep experience, tremendous energy, strategic vision and forward-thinking approach will allow the firm to continue to grow and flourish.”

Chastain added: “I want to thank Chuck for his tremendous contributions to Witt/Kieffer during his tenure. Chuck not only helped the firm greatly expand its practices and reach, but his vision helped propel the firm’s strong growth over the past six years with record revenue and expanded services to our clients and candidates. His visionary leadership has positioned Witt/Kieffer as one of the leading and most progressive firms in the executive search industry today, and laid a strong foundation for continued growth in the future.”

Wardell joined Witt/Kieffer in June 2011. Since that time the firm has approximately doubled in revenues and number of employees. The firm also saw outstanding growth over the past several years in its traditional lines of business, including healthcare, higher education, academic medicine, and information technology. In addition to the expansion of its traditional practices, under Wardell’s oversight the firm launched and built five new practices, including Life Sciences, Sports Leadership, Board Services, Leadership Solutions and WK Advisors, the firm’s mid-level executive search practice. Further, it has established an international joint venture, Witt/Kieffer Ccentric, headquartered in London and in association with Australia-based Ccentric Group.

Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer, Chastain served as a member of the healthcare business consulting team at Arthur Andersen. In that role, he worked closely with hospitals and health systems, physician practices and long-term care providers in developing strategic business plans. Prior to consulting, Chastain worked in hospital operations for a large academic medical center. Chastain is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the Xavier University Graduate Program in Health Administration’s Advisory Board. He is a frequent speaker and noted author on recruiting, executive career management, succession planning and governance.