Southerland Partners Leading CHRO Search for Intermountain Healthcare

October 31, 2016 – Dallas-based executive search firm Southerland Partners is seeking candidates to fill the chief human resources officer (CHRO) position for Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City. Managing partner Keith C. Southerland is leading the search. The non-profit health system is looking for an executive to lead a system-wide HR leadership team of approximately 25 leaders.

Reporting to the CEO, the incoming CHRO through four direct reports, will lead employee development and engagement, diversity, quality & safety, patient engagement, and operational effectiveness.

Intermountain Healthcare is a Utah-based, not-for-profit system of 22 hospitals, 185 clinics, a medical group with about 1,300 employed physicians, a health plans division called SelectHealth, and other health services. With a mission of ‘helping people live the healthiest lives possible,’ Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare through high quality and sustainable costs.

Client Track Record

Earlier this year, Intermountain Healthcare turned to Southerland Partners to find its current chief executive officer, Dr. A. Marc Harrison, who has had a distinguished career in pediatric critical care and previously held the position of chief of international business development for Cleveland Clinic.

Southerland Partners is an executive search firm with specialization in complex integrated delivery systems, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and payer organizations. The firm recently placed CEOs at Ardmore Institute of Health, St. Joseph’s and Healthcare System as well as filling the president post at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

HR Leaders In High Demand

Demand for senior level HR executives is rising, according to recruiters specializing in the function. Hiring forecasts point to a growing sense of urgency within the HR community to prepare and plan for coming talent shortages. Recent hiring trends data show that a full one third of companies polled said their organizations were hiring for HR positions. This number is up from 20 percent just 18 months ago.

While the CHRO has always played an essential role within organizations, changing times have helped to elevate the position to new heights. According to Alan Guarino, vice chairman in the CEO and board services practice for Korn Ferry, there’s a bit of a revolution going on in the world of CHROs.


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“Gone are the days when people in this role are seen as the keepers of the administrative people functions,” said Mr. Guarino. “Today’s effective CHROs are clearly part of the executive teams that develop and execute business strategy. Increasingly, the CHROs that we work with own the talent solution side of the business, aligning talent workstreams to drive the business toward the organization’s objectives.” Companies where the CHRO focuses on this strategic set of responsibilities, he added, are positioned to gain the upper hand.

CHROs have become critical stakeholders in defining the strategy of a company, and they are expected to tackle the HR challenges and evolving expectations of a dynamic workplace environment that will consist of constant change, calculated risk taking and evolving expectations from top stakeholders,” said Neil Shastri, leader for global insights & innovation at Aon Hewitt. “Those well-equipped to achieve the greatest success will have diverse skill sets, be adaptable and agile, and gain hands-on learning from working through real life situations and acquiring knowledge across disciplines and industries.”

In a business world where transformation is the name of the game, the CHRO is taking on the mantle of arch strategist, deploying sophisticated talent management principles and practice to drive business success,” said Mark Oppenheimer, chief commercial & innovation officer at leadership advisory and executive search firm Marlin Hawk. “Historically, the CHRO has often been accused of lacking strategic input at the board level and has struggled to have a seat at the top table in the inner circle. Now, rather than being absorbed into the finance function as some have suggested, the role has stood its ground and flourished.”

CHRO Recruiting

Hunt Scanlon has reported on several executive search firms placing CHROs in recent months. Here’s a sampling of just a few from the companies internal archives:

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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