Mountain View Voice

News - April 15, 2011

El Camino hires executive search firm

by Nick Veronin

El Camino Hospital's executive search committee has chosen the international executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates to search for a new CEO to replace Ken Graham.

The committee, led by Dr. Patricia Einarson, a member of the hospital's board of directors, and including incoming board chair, John Zoglin, chose the firm because of its credentials in the field of executive search, according to hospital spokeswoman Chris Ernst.

"This is all they do; they do executive searches," Ernst said of Russell Reynolds, noting that the firm had been used to find two "outstanding" executives currently working at El Camino — Dr. Eric Pifer, the hospital's chief medical officer, and Greg Walton, the hospital's chief information officer.

Russell Reynolds, which has offices in North and South America, Europe and Asia, has been in the business of executive search for 40 years and will thoroughly vet a number of prospective CEO candidates, Ernst said. "We won't even see a candidate until they've gone through a robust process to ensure that they are an ideal candidate for the position."

The current board chairman, Wesley Alles, who initiated the formation of the executive search committee, said the hospital is hoping to find someone who has at least 10 years of experience in a senior management position for a public or a district hospital, is a "visionary leader" and who has a strong track record unifying organizations and communicating well with the community.

"You have to be seasoned," Ernst said, speaking generally about what it takes to run a hospital the size of El Camino.

There is no firm timeline for when a new CEO will be hired. Graham's tenure with the hospital ends in June.

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