Witt/Kieffer Announces Promotions

July 21, 2017 – Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has announced 10 promotions in its expanding search practices. These promotions follow the appointment of Andrew Chastain to CEO, replacing Charles “Chuck” W.B. Wardell.

“During this time of unprecedented change across industries, we are thrilled to recognize these professionals who have helped our clients to build successful, thriving leadership,” said Mr. Chastain. “They each bring a wealth of experience and valuable marketplace insight, allowing them to serve as experts in their fields as well as in the practice of executive recruiting.”


Werner Boel, based in Atlanta, is now senior partner and leader of the firm’s legal services practice. Mr. Boel has been recognized for helping clients to evaluate the new breed of senior legal executives who take leading roles in developing emerging business models, assessing and managing risk, shaping public policy and leading government and legislative relations. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer in 2007, he worked as an international legal coordinator providing immigration advice to Fortune 500 clients.

Melissa Fincher, based in Columbus, OH, is now a senior associate in the firm’s education practice. Ms. Fincher has developed strong relationships with her clients through years of higher education, non-profit and academic medicine collaborations. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer in 2015, she worked for Rutgers University, Johns Hopkins External Affairs and Development and Ohio State University.

Ben Haden, based in San Diego, CA, is now a consultant for WK Advisors, a division of Witt/Kieffer. Mr. Haden’s search expertise is in mid-level executive placements within healthcare and higher education. Prior to joining Witt/ Kieffer in 2015, he was an executive recruiter for University of California, San Diego, and a lead talent manager at Scripps Health.

Zachary Durst, based in Oak Brook, IL, becomes a senior associate in the firm’s IT practice. Mr. Durst focuses on searches to identify chief medical information officers, chief information officers, and other IT leaders in hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and other health-related organizations. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer in 2014, he worked with non-profits on unemployment initiatives and in managing Illinois Department of Labor grants to small business owners.

Beth Nelson, also based in Oak Brook, IL, is now a principal in the firm’s healthcare practice. Ms. Nelson joined Witt/Kieffer in 2005, and has over 30 years  experience in recruitment, human resources, healthcare consulting, program development and general management. She is passionate about rural healthcare and community hospitals where she has identified strong, effective leadership.  

Hunt Scanlon Top 50 Recruiters
Hunt Scanlon presents the 50 top U.S./Americas search firms — ranging from the largest recruiting and talent leadership solutions providers to the leading boutique specialists that dominate the list this year.

Top 50

Morten Nielsen, based in Cleveland, OH, is now a senior partner and global managing partner, life sciences. Mr. Nielsen has over 10 years of experience in executive search, and excels in recruiting board directors and CEOs, in addition to other C-suite positions. Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer two years ago, he spent over 20 years working in the healthcare and life sciences industries.

Andrew Trechsel, based in Emeryville, CA, is now a senior associate in the firm’s healthcare practice. Mr. Trechsel works to identify leaders for hospitals, health systems and academic medical centers across the country. He has extensive knowledge in recruitment, having previously worked as a technical recruiter and recruiting coordinator at an IT staffing and consulting firm.

Mercedes Chacón Vance, based in Portland, ME, is now a principal in Witt/Kieffer’s education practice. She utilizes 17 years of education and not-for-profit executive search experience in her work identifying presidents, vice presidents and deans in colleges and universities on behalf of a broad spectrum of Witt/ Kieffer education clients. She also leads the firm’s advancement team. Prior to joining Witt/ Kieffer, Ms. Chacón Vance worked in corporate retained search.

Adriane Willig, based in Oak Brook, IL, has been promoted to senior partner in the firm’s healthcare practice. Ms. Willig joined Witt/Kieffer in 2008, and brings over 20 years of healthcare experience, a national network of health system leaders and extensive knowledge of physician relations and relationship management to her senior-level executive search assignments. Her varied background in the healthcare sector along with experience in working within the executive ranks, gives Ms. Willig a deep understanding of health-system strategies and executive leadership needs.

Ann Yates, based in Leesburg, VA, is now a principal in Witt/Kieffer’s education practice. Ms. Yates joined the firm four years ago, and brings nearly two decades of search consultant experience to her searches. She has a broad understanding of education leadership which allows her to maintain exceptional quality and close engagement with clients and candidates in all her work as she continues to identify leaders with the right institutional fit.

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

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments