We are conducting a search for a CEO for one of our client’s organizations. Our client is building a network of premier veterinary practices in a different way from the corporate consolidators and private equity firms. The company stands for long-term commitment to veterinarians, staff members and the local community. The company has a decades-long time horizon and is not looking for a “quick flip”. With this perspective and structure the business seeks to be a long-term home for veterinarians, associates and a company in which there will not be artificial or unnecessary restrictions on the practice of excellent veterinary medicine.
Three families behind the company, sit on the boards of, or are engaged benefactors of some of the most well-respected healthcare provider and pharmaceutical institutions in the world. In addition to their healthcare legacy, they have built businesses in hospitality and other industries to national and international scale, and operate in all 50 states. They have owned or led the growth of numerous businesses including well known household brands.
We seek an experienced CEO, who can build the company into a nationally recognized organization of veterinary practices and help the business disrupt the current model of veterinary corporatization, leading with culture. This positon represents a singular opportunity to join an already industry-changing group with a strong competitive advance resulting from the business structure and their resources across medicine, hospitality and multi-unit business development. The position represents a rare opportunity to build a company from the ground up, to help define its culture and to earn the financial reward associated with building a young business.
An interim CEO is currently running the organization as well as a Chief Veterinary Officer. The interim CEO is a large minority investor in the business and plans to move into a Chairman role after the CEO is hired. The Chief Veterinary Officer is an accomplished veterinarian who built and sold a veterinary business and speaks around the world and brings both substantial medical and business knowledge to the organization.
The successful CEO will have a demonstrated ability to lead all strategic and operational elements of a multi-unit veterinary hospital business, as well as to build the people, systems and processes necessary to support a nationwide network of hospitals. Essential responsibilities of the CEO will include:
– Instilling the organizations’ culture and mission within all of the practices and represent the brand authentically across the marketplace
– Work alongside investors to define practice acquisition and growth strategy
– Manage integration of acquisitions (e.g. systems, vendors, HR , SOP’s)
– Build corporate functions and hire staff to support the practice network (e.g. financial, business development, marketing, HR, IT)
– Define financial and operational performance metrics to measure and optimize performance, as well as the systems and dashboards to provide those metrics
– Work with the Chief Veterinary Officer to define clinical protocols, requirements and support structure (including continuing education)
– Work alongside the founding families to define and implement a premier customer experience across all practices
– Negotiate and manage vendor contracts
– Travel to practices to support performance improvement initiatives
Given the nature of the CEO role, we are eager to meet with candidates with a diverse set of backgrounds and professional experience. The following are likely to be qualifies of the most successful candidates:
– Genuine desire to build a family-owned veterinary company with a long-term horizon
– Strong understanding of the veterinary consolidator landscape and a shared vision to create a better path to partnership and succession for medicine first practices
– Excellent reputation across the industry for ethics, leadership, and performance
– Demonstrated ability and desire to perform the broad array of tasks required to succeed as the CEO of a young business (including the work required as a “doer”, not just a manager)
– Strong work ethic stemming from a natural desire to learn and build something special
– Demonstrated experience leading and growing a 15+ location veterinary practice group (or a similarly sized division of a larger group, or an applicable practice group outside of the veterinary industry)—includes experience completing and integrating acquisitions, building teams, managing operations, and implementing systems
– Experience with numerous PMS, accounting systems, and diagnostics vendors
– Strong financial acumen and data-driven management and communication style
– Genuine interest in both vet medicine and business performance, as well as strong relationships with both DVM’s and business staff within past organizations
– Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
Qualifications include executive level leadership for a veterinary hospital corporation, who has been involved with a roll up of veterinary hospitals. Someone with experience leading an early stage company is ideal.