April 25, 2018 – Executive recruitment firm Witt/Kieffer has acquired its joint venture Witt/Kieffer Ccentric Limited to create Witt/Kieffer International Limited. The agreement reflects the outright purchase of the entity from its joint venture partner, Ccentric Group of Australia, with which it had collaborated since 2015. Financial terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.
Serving clients in healthcare, education and the life sciences with their executive recruiting needs, Witt/Kieffer International will be headquartered in London and will have the ability to conduct searches worldwide. The search firm’s president and CEO Andrew P. Chastain will oversee business operations with full support from the Witt/Kieffer executive team and board as well as Witt/Kieffer International general managers Natalie Derry, based in the U.K., and Petra Klerken, based in Hong Kong.
“This move is about better serving global markets in our client industries,” said Mr. Chastain. “It allows us to realize goals that we have had since forming the joint venture and officially expanding our business internationally: to be a truly global executive search firm and to better support our clients in healthcare, education, academic medicine and the life sciences, wherever their executive talent needs may exist.”
“Witt/Kieffer International will allow us to identify and find top executive leaders on a much broader scope and scale, and to go where client organizations need us,” he said. “Today’s executive talent marketplace requires that leading search firms have a global reach and expertise, which we have been building for many years now.”
Recruiting CEO Discusses Tenure … and Industry Challenges Ahead
Last August, Chuck Wardell took us inside his tenure at Witt/Kieffer – one of the nation’s leading search specialists. In this wide ranging interview, he looked back and ahead at the challenges and opportunities on the horizon for executive recruiters. Here it is, in case you missed it. If you did read it, it’s worth a second look.
“For longstanding clients of our firm, we will continue to provide exceptional support in executive talent needs, as Witt/Kieffer has done in the U.S. for nearly 50 years,” Mr. Chastain said.
Seasoned Search Consultants
Witt/Kieffer, based in Oak Brook, IL, assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments. With more than 100 search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CNOs, physician executives and other leaders.
Mr. Chastain, who assumed the CEO role at Witt/Kieffer last July, has more than 20 years of healthcare leadership and executive search experience. He partners with health systems, major hospitals, academic medical centers, and other healthcare clients to identify CEOs and senior executive leaders. He recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the acquisition and how it broadens the firm’s global reach.
Andrew, how did Witt/Kieffer International come about?
Our clients are calling on Witt/Kieffer to serve them in new ways, operationally, strategically and globally. In an effort to meet the changing needs of our clients, our leadership team and board set forth a strategy to understand the global needs of our clients and assess the best manner to serve them. We initially tested this strategy with a joint venture partner. We are very excited about the response of our clients and know the best way to serve them was integrating the original structure into Witt/Kieffer.
“Looking internationally is nothing new for organizations in our industries, especially the life sciences, but it’s happening a lot more today as the world continues to shrink, businesses and institutions think more globally, and executives move across borders more freely than in the past.”
How does this change what Witt/Kieffer offers?
This gives us more global presence and reach as a firm, which facilitates two things: It allows us to serve our current clients better as they continue to expand overseas by themselves or through global partnerships, and it gives us greater capabilities to serve clients overseas who are sourcing executive candidates worldwide including the U.S., where we’ve been for nearly 50 years. Looking internationally is nothing new for organizations in our industries, especially the life sciences, but it’s happening a lot more today as the world continues to shrink, businesses and institutions think more globally, and executives move across borders more freely than in the past.
Are you seeing healthcare, the largest segment of your business, globalizing?
Actually, we see healthcare, higher education and life sciences as strong global markets for different reasons. Healthcare brands in the U.S. are partnering with global organizations, sharing best practices both in clinical and operational leadership. The expansion of the middle class and healthcare economies worldwide present opportunities for our U.S. healthcare clients to expand. Higher education institutions have long partnered internationally but the rate is increasing and talent is moving globally. Life sciences has always been a global talent market.
How will you integrate Witt/Kieffer and Witt/Kieffer International?
As with the joint venture, Witt/Kieffer International has its own excellent staff and consultants, and we’ll look to grow the Witt/Kieffer International team while integrating further and blending it with our U.S.-based consultants. We’ll coordinate activities and find synergies where practical – in building search teams across locations to share expertise and source exceptional candidates, in accessing consultants’ networks and deepening our strong company database of global executives, and in sharing best practices so we continue to get better at what we do.
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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