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Executive Search spotlight: Healthcare & Pharma

Executive Search spotlight: Healthcare & Pharma

Executive Grapevine | Executive Grapevine International Ltd


Martha Hauser, Managing Director and National Healthcare Practise Leader at Diversified Search, believes that there is not enough talent to take on the number of C-suite roles that major national and super-regional health systems currently need.

And with biotech and pharma start-ups popping up everywhere, coupled with large-scale M&A activity, the requirements for incoming science and healthcare executives are both intense and different to the requirements of previous years – HuntScanlon reports.

With the unpredictable nature of contemporary politics, executive search is increasingly seen as a necessity for those firms wishing to get a competitive advantage through their leadership.

In a HuntScanlon report, Todd Drometer, Partner at Phillips DiPisa and Associates, a boutique search firm specialising in life sciences and healthcare, explained that firms should be proactive before they are forced into unwanted, reactionary change.

Drometer said: “With change comes new leadership opportunities and we have seen this within hospitals, health systems, medical groups and managed care organisations over the past several years.”

One crucial change the healthcare sector needs to get its head around is “high-tech meets biotech” claims Robin Toft, President and CEO of Toft Group.

She continues: “Baby boomers are retiring and becoming patients in the healthcare system, rather than employees. As we retire, there are not enough candidates available to fill those roles within biotech and healthcare providers.

“There is a ‘high tech meets biotech’ phenomenon happening. Leaders with backgrounds in computational biology and data analysis with strong leadership competencies are in high demand.”

Gender plays a role too. A Witt/Keiffer survey showed that the healthcare sector is missing out on the distinct skills that women bring to leadership roles.

Whilst women make up the majority of workers in the healthcare sector, they currently only make up 26% of hospital and healthcare CEOs, and only 28% of Board members.

But executive search specialists say there is limited patience for newly hired executives to assimilate. Largely, this is due to the rate of change in the industry.

Yet, the elevation of non-traditional leaders, including doctors and nurses, means that executive search is given a wider-than-ever scope to search for leaders.

Keith Southerland, President of Southerland Partners, said: "On some searches, we are often given more latitude to recruit outside the industry. We have found many top candidates who are quite receptive and eager to be considered.”

However, Brian McGowan, Managing Director of ZRG Partners, argues there’s one thing that executive search cannot magic away.

He said: “The demand for executives versus available supply is high relative to market ready and available talent.”

Even executive search cannot magic candidates out of thin air.