Read about some of Curtis Hall Partners’ successful searches:
Probably the most unique search conducted by our organization was for a large, National Health Care Plan located in the Washington, DC area. The organization asked us to conduct a confidential search for a new CFO. The reason why it needed to be confidential was because the CFO that was in the position at the time and was well known within the region had a terminal illness and both he and the company wanted to keep it confidential due to the nature of the illness.
For this reason, we were not able to give candidates the name of the client, nor were we able to introduce candidates to the CEO or members of his Executive Team. It became evident, very quickly, that in order for this search to be successful we would need to build relationships between us and our candidates in order to have them trust us enough to know whether they were the right fit for the organization or not.
In order to do this and maintain a professional quality to the search, it became necessary to build a “virtual organization” for the candidates to work with. This virtual organization provided information to the candidates, such as:
- Company Size/Department Size
- Direct Reports & their Responsibilities
- Overall Financial Reviews by Department
- Plan Membership
We had to provide everything that the candidate would need in order to make an educated decision as to whether this was an organization and a position worth pursuing. We had to create a “virtual peer group”, describing each member of the Executive Team, their skills, abilities and working relationship with the CFO. This also had to be created for the CFO’s direct reports in order to give the candidates some idea of who was going to be on their team and also to give them an opportunity to decide what their team members’ responsibilities were going to be.
We were able to find the right person for the position within 60 days and the CFO was able to “retire”. He passed away shortly thereafter.
One of the more interesting searches conducted by the company was for a CFO of a Managed Care company owned by a group of 7 hospitals. These were rather large system hospitals and they each wanted a candidate that would work well with their organization. Our job was to find a candidate that would be able to meet our client’s needs while, at the same time, meet the needs of his clients, the hospitals.
Due to state’s unique Hospital Regulatory body, it became evident that the successful candidate would have to be sourced from within the region and to do otherwise would be foolish since the learning curve for the successful candidate would be too steep and their credibility would be continuously challenged.
We decided that a consensus would first need to be established between all the players to ensure a successful outcome and, therefore, worked with our client to put this strategy into play.
Each Hospital was represented on the search committee along with our client in order to avoid any situations of finger pointing if the candidate failed. Normally, we would have worked solely with our client but, in this situation, it was decided to have each owner hospital participate in the hiring process.
Within 90 days, a successful candidate was sourced and hired.
We were engaged to identify and recruit a Chief Operating Officer for one of the most prestigious International Healthcare Organizations in the country. The Plan, a wholly-owned subsidiary of this organization, serves several key but disparate marketplaces: the Plan serves as a TPA handling all the health claims of the 17 different operating units within the entire enterprise, including its University and all its schools, the hospitals and the various satellite entities. It also serves as a major Medicaid vendor.
Accordingly, the need to satisfy significantly different constituencies made this search challenging, since the search “jury” consisted of both the enterprise’s “clients” as well as representatives from the Medicaid infrastructure. A further complication related to the enterprise’s expectation that since the institution has such a strong reputation for excellence, there was a reluctance to provide a fully competitive compensation package. From a purely logistical point of view, it was difficult for Curtis Hall Partners to arrange convenient times when the candidates could meet with members of this widespread “jury”. Similarly, we had to quash the concerns of the candidates that they were facing a very bureaucratic culture, which, frankly, the interview process reinforced.
In spite of these challenges, we were able to recruit a very strong operations executive from a large regional managed care firm who remained with the Plan for over five years, leaving to pursue a position with more ultimate career promise.
Our first search for a well respected Multi-Care Center, a leading regional nursing and rehabilitation business which has become a repeat client, was to recruit a CFO to replace the long-time incumbent for whom there was no ready internal succession candidate. The organization’s CEO had only been on board a little less than a year, and had been hired by her board with a very strong agenda to pursue an aggressive growth strategy. The organization has a large unencumbered endowment that would form the basis for a strategy of growth through mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures/partnerships.
The CEO openly acknowledged that she lacked the specific “deal skills” necessary to execute a deal-driven growth plan, and accordingly, our challenge as recruiters was to find someone who had both broad-based healthcare financial knowledge and sufficient deals experience to be able to play this role. We agreed that what the organization needed was someone who, in a perfect world, has investment banking experience.
When Curtis Hall Partners went into the financial executive marketplace to identify suitable candidates we quickly realized that seasoned healthcare CFOs seldom possess the hands-on corporate financial deal skills, since in most cases, such specific expertise is out-sourced to investment bankers or M&A consultants. On the other hand, people from the investment banking world seldom possess strong CFO skills that enable them, for example, to effectively supervise the monthly close or oversee the external auditors in the annual audit process.
Ultimately, we were able to identify someone who most recently had been a CFO and who also had some healthcare experience in her background, but who also had been a consultant with significant experience advising clients on mergers and acquisitions. We specifically targeted that candidate and were successful in recruiting her. As mentioned above, since the client has engaged us for an executive director search since then, we believe she is very pleased with our efforts to find a very difficult-to-find candidate.
We were asked by one of our International clients to conduct a search for a senior level healthcare executive that would build and expand an operation in Argentina. Due to the fact that there were a number of complexities with this project, it became apparent, very quickly, that what was needed was an individual that would be comfortable dealing with the military environment in the country and had excellent communication skills which allowed him to accomplish the step by step approach to building the operation. We were able to source a viable Spanish speaking candidate who accepted the offer and created a successful operation within the country.
We were hired by a large government contractor involved in the development and building of the latest fighter jet for the US Armed Forces. The issue they were facing was the fact that, competitive companies were bidding for the same contract and they needed assistance in finding Rocket Scientists and Jet Fighter technicians.
Their Human Resources leader, who we had worked with in the past on another search, contacted us to assist them with this project. As opposed to finding, interviewing and hiring these specialized individuals, we were tasked with the mission to simply find these individuals and create a data base that could be sourced by their internal recruiters. We were able to successfully complete this project within a 3 month period which led to a successful outcome for our client.
We received an unsolicited inquiry regarding our capabilities to fill an HR leader’s position. After explaining our track record on these types of searches, our client revealed to us that they were the Federal Reserve in Washington and wanted to know if we were interested in conducting the search. We realized that this position would be of great interest to everyone that we sourced and, therefore, it became necessary to conduct the search in a confidential manner until 5 candidates were presented for interviews at the Fed. The successful candidate was chosen within 90 days of the search initiation.