September 23, 2016 – Korn Ferry has been retained by the influential Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to lead its search for a new president and chief executive officer. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey has headed the $10 billion private foundation since 2003.
Established in 1972, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is the largest U.S. philanthropy focused solely on health. The foundation’s goal, through the use of grants, is “to improve the health and healthcare of all Americans.” The organization has $9.2 billion in assets, generating grants approaching $400 million a year.
Fred Mann, vice president of communications for the foundation, said the search could take several months. “I think the culture-of-health vision that we’ve had is something that we’re committed to keeping,” he said in describing what the organization seeks in a new leader.
Passionate Leader Sought
Today’s non-profit, philanthropy, and social enterprise sectors are evolving at a rapid pace. And the opportunity to create more meaningful and wider impact is greater than ever, reports Korn Ferry. Keeping mission ahead and at the forefront requires visionary leaders who are agile, strategic, and deeply passionate. Understanding an organization’s cultures and sector mission challenges can be the key to ultimately achieving alignment and building consensus, say recruiters specializing in the field.
Just recently, Korn Ferry recruited Michael S. Linnington as chief executive officer of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). Based in Jacksonville, FL, WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs.
The importance of understanding what mission-driven organizations actually look for in leaders cannot be understated, and some search firms are setting up practice areas specifically devoted to ferreting them out.
Calibre One is one small, but highly influential search firm that has done just this. This month, the firm launched a ‘purpose-driven’ search practice to be led by partner Venesa Klein and backed by a team of specialists. The new practice is focused on placing senior level executives in organizations seeking to create innovation with meaningful impact. The practice will look beyond traditional performance indicators through extensive candidate assessments to ensure its search strategy is fully aligned with each client’s specific objectives, values and purpose.
Foundations Turn to Recruiters
Various charitable foundations have tuned to executive search firms in recent months to find new leaders. Here is a look at just a few taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
- Diversified Search placed Stacey D. Stewart as president of the March of Dimes Foundation. The search was led by Andrew Wheeler, managing director and practice leader of the firm’s education and not-for-profit practice. Ms. Stewart most recently served as the U.S. president of United Way Worldwide;
- Koya Leadership Partners is searching for a new leader for Amnesty International USA. Managing partner Molly Brennan and principal Sam Simmons are leading the search. Amnesty is a global movement of seven million supporters, members, and activists who campaign for internationally recognized human rights to be respected, protected, and fulfilled;
- BoardWalk Consulting has been retained by The Jane Goodall Institute to lead its search for a new executive director. Managing director Kathy Bremer is leading the assignment. The Jane Goodall Institute is a world leader in protecting chimpanzees and conserving the planet. Founded in 1977 by iconic ethologist and pioneer Dr. Jane Goodall, JGI advances the vision and work of Dr. Goodall through community-based conservation, research, education and advocacy;
- Phillips Oppenheim has been retained by YouthBuild USA to lead its search for a new CEO. Principal Paul Spivey is leading the search. YouthBuild is a non-profit organization which provides education, counseling and job skills to unemployed young adults (between ages 16 and 24), generally high school dropouts;
- Russell Reynolds Associates has been selected by Help for Heroes to lead its search for a new CEO. Founded by Bryn and Emma Parry in 2007, Help for Heroes has grown to become one of the best known charities in the U.K. The firm was also retained by Save the Children UK to lead in its search for a new CEO. Save the Children UK is a member of the Save the Children Alliance. It designs, develops, and commissions programs delivered by Save the Children International;
- Harvard Group International (HGI) has been selected by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to recruit six new board members. Chuck Cain, a senior partner active in the firm’s non-profit practice, is heading the search. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s roots stretch back to 1982 when the American Paralysis Association was formed. Christopher Reeve sought out the organization following his injury in 1995;
- Miller Black Associates placed Andrea Carter as chief people officer of Habitat for Humanity International in Atlanta. Managing director Joanna Miller led search. Habitat for Humanity is devoted to building “simple, decent, and affordable” housing, a self-described Christian housing ministry, and the organization has addressed the issues surrounding poverty housing all over the world;
- CarterBaldwin Executive Search tapped J.C. Watts as president and CEO of Feed the Children. Bill Peterson, co-leader of the firm’s non-profit and academic search practice, led the assignment. Feed the Children’s mission is to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry;
- Witt/Kieffer placed Michael W. Coughlin as president and CEO of Crotched Mountain Foundation. Crotched Mountain Foundation is a charitable organization founded in 1953 with a mission to serve individuals with disabilities and their families, embracing personal choice and development, and building communities of mutual support.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media