Witt/Kieffer: Selecting The Right CEO

Leadership transitions are inevitable. For one reason or another, the board discovers it needs to recruit a new chief executive officer. Some CEOs accept other positions and some retire. Still others are not doing the kind of job the organization requires and will be replaced. While each organization’s situation is unique, the need for strong leadership has never been greater. Therefore, in recruiting a new CEO, it is critical to use a proven, comprehensive process. This will not only increase the likelihood of selecting the right person for the job,it will also bring credibility to the chosen candidate and provide an essential foundation for his or her tenure.

How then does the organization prepare for one of the toughest decisions it must make?

Witt/Kieffer is pleased to provide this guide through the complex process of selecting a new CEO. It is based on decades of experience conducting successful searches for hospitals, health systems, integrated delivery systems, children’s hospitals, academic medical centers and other healthcare organizations.

As you prepare for this process, keep in mind:

Opportunity. View the task of recruiting a new CEO as an opportunity to reflect on the organization’s past, present and future. This is the perfect time to evaluate strategic goals, programs and services, expectations for leadership and internal senior management talent. Maintain a positive attitude toward the search experience. It can be an exciting and challenging time for the board and organization.

Caution. Proceed with caution on new ventures, programs and services. Postpone promotions and discussions on new affiliations, mergers, acquisitions, alliances until the new CEO is selected. If circumstances require otherwise, be prepared to evaluate with your search consultant how such decisions may impact your search process.

General Questions

  1. What is the organization’s mission and how well is it fulfilled?
  2. What are the characteristics of the culture that define fit?
  3. What are the organization’s values and how effectively are they integrated into business operations and patient care?
  4. What is the organization’s overall strategic direction and how well is it articulated and implemented? Does the organization’s current structure contribute to achieving its strategic direction?
  5. What is the organization’s current and projected financial condition?
  6. How is quality of care measured in the organization?
  7. How does the organization’s image and reputation compare with those of competitors?
  8. How qualified is current management to address the organization’s problems and achieve its goals? Are there logical internal candidates?
  9. How do internal politics affect the organization’s ability to realize its goals?

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