Our first search for this 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 our client 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 the client is very pleased with our efforts to find a very difficult-to-find candidate.