New Practice Will Focus on Identifying Board Members and Planning for Board Succession

Oak Brook, IL, April 3, 2012 - Witt/Kieffer, one of the nation's leading executive search firms, today announced the launch of its Board Services practice. Leading the expansion, James W. (Jim) Gauss will bring more than 30 years of experience in advising trustees and board members and identifying leaders in the healthcare, insurance, academic and other industries. As Chairman of Board Services, he will use his extensive relationships, experience and expertise to develop a practice that leverages Witt/Kieffer's significant depth and breadth in healthcare, insurance, life sciences companies, academic institutions and related organizations. The practice will focus on recruiting board members as well as providing succession planning and leadership development for governing boards.

"Healthcare, life sciences and academic board members face more and more complex challenges in today's environment due to increasing regulation, intense scrutiny on costs and a volatile economy, among other factors," said Charles (Chuck) Wardell III, Witt/Kieffer President and CEO. "The board room of the future will demand that directors and trustees not only have more sophisticated skills and far-reaching experience, but also that they have a plan in place to develop existing and nurture prospective board members."

Gauss will lead the practice from Witt/Kieffer's office in Irvine, CA. He served as president and CEO of Witt/Kieffer from 2007 until June 2011. At Witt/Kieffer, he has consulted with many of the nation's leading health systems, academic institutions including academic medical centers, managed care plans and insurers and other organizations. He has counseled hundreds of trustees and CEOs on a wide range of issues, including best practice governance, succession planning, diversity and the competencies and skills needed to succeed in the future.

Gauss currently serves on the board of directors of the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity in Health Management in Chicago and on the board of directors of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, CA, one of the hospitals of MemorialCare Health System in Fountain Valley, CA. Gauss has been noted by BusinessWeek as one of the top 100 most influential executive search consultants worldwide.

"We see boards increasingly challenged with issues such as finding members with sophisticated financial, quality, IT and other specialized backgrounds." said Gauss. "Boards today are casting a wide net for directors and trustees with diverse backgrounds, skills and perspectives and increasingly looking outside of their traditional boundaries. Witt/Kieffer's experience in the board room - as well as advising boards on issues such as diversity, leadership development and succession planning - allows us to identify the best board members for our clients."

The Board Services practice marks the third practice launch this year for Witt/Kieffer, which recently launched Life Sciences and Sports Leadership practices. It is currently the only top ten executive search firm dedicated to healthcare and higher education and is also the search firm of choice among academic medical institutions.

For more information or for interview requests, please contact Marissa Lyman at 212.576.2700 and [email protected].

Witt/Kieffer is the nation's eighth largest executive search firm and the only national firm that specializes in healthcare, higher education and not-for-profit organizations. Founded in 1969, our mission is to identify outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Clients include hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, physician groups, biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device companies, colleges, universities and community service and cultural organizations. The firm conducts 400 search assignments each year for directors/trustees, presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, physician executives, medical school deans, clinical chairs and other senior executives. Visit www.wittkieffer.com for more information.