March 28, 2018 – Chicago-based executive search firm TalentRISE has placed Laura Witter-Johnson as chief financial officer of Prism Healthcare Partners. The assignment was led by J. James O’Malley, partner and executive search practice leader, and Beth Gordon, director for executive search.
Prism was seeking a CFO who could help the organization with its strategy to continue profitable organic growth while looking at strategic opportunities for acquisitions. “We were looking for a sitting controller or director of accounting within a professional services firm,” said Mr. O’Malley. “We were not limited to healthcare, and targeted candidates in consulting organizations, law firms, engineering firms, etc.”
“Our client was most interested in a high potential financial executive stepping into their first CFO role,” he said. “We needed someone who could be both strategic, as part of the executive team for the organization as well as hands-on due to the size of the organization and the team (three to four individuals) that report to the CFO.”
Prism Healthcare’s strategic plan is to double in size over the next three to five years. As such, M&A experience was also desirable.
The Right Match
Most recently, Ms. Witter-Johnson was group controller for the wealth and retirement administration group of FIS (formerly SunGard Financial Systems). Prior to that, she served in finance and held accounting roles with organizations including INITIATE, an IBM company; and Sun Time Media Group. She began her career with KPMG.
“Laura had worked in professional services for almost her entire career and had been successful in a $20 million start-up, as well as in a mid-size division of a technology consulting firm,” said Mr. O’Malley. “The majority of her career had been as an accounting leader, but she had experience in financial planning and reporting, budgeting and forecasting, and had served as a trusted advisor to CFOs and CEOs. Laura began her career in public accounting which provided a best-in-class foundation in auditing, accounting systems, and accounting processes.”
Prism Healthcare Partners focuses exclusively on helping hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers improve their financial, operational and clinical performance. Clients work directly with senior experts who understand the nuances of the industry and how changing market dynamics and challenging conditions impact hospital performance.
“We are coaching our clients to react in much the same way as our recent client Prism did and look to hire a high potential for the role versus recruiting for a lateral hire,” said Mr. O’Malley.
Veteran Search Consultants
TalentRISE provides executive search services to the technology, professional services, healthcare, life sciences, consumer, financial services, non-profit, insurance, private equity and industrial sectors. The firm’s core service offerings also include on-demand, project based contract recruiting for scalable support of internal resources or longer-term recruitment process outsourcing solutions and talent acquisition consulting.
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TalentRISE serves a wide range of clients, including Healthscape Advisors, First National Bank, Duff & Phelps, Grant Thornton, VF Corporation, Accretive Health, Dohmen Life Science Services, First National Bank and Urban Partnership Bank.
For more than 25 years, Mr. O’Malley has developed talent acquisition solutions to help leadership talent align with changing business needs. He joined TalentRISE in 2012 to focus on clients’ executive leadership challenges, leveraging his passion for a fresh, flexible approach to executive search as well as his expertise in RPO, workforce planning/analytics and executive coaching. Before TalentRISE, he was SVP in the human resource function of Fifth Third Bancorp.
Ms. Gordon serves clients across the professional services, healthcare, banking and financial services, not-for-profit and manufacturing sectors. She brings more than 10 years of broad experience in full lifecycle executive search, covering a wide range of industries and functions. In addition, she has a previous background in outplacement services for military officers transitioning to the civilian workforce and administrative management. Before joining TalentRISE, she served as a senior associate with Jobplex.
Chief financial officers continue to be in high demand. Finding them is keeping many of the nation’s top recruitment operations busier than ever.
“It is clear that there is a shortage of CFO leaders,” said Mr. O’Malley. “CFOs are increasingly being tapped for COO and CEO roles within and outside their current organizations. More importantly, there is a bigger shortage of succession candidates once these CFOs are elevated to the next level. The results are making it an interesting market for both the sitting CFO who is considering multiple opportunities and their employers who need to contemplate how they will replace them if they move up or out.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media