In January, the Cook County Health & Hospitals System Board of Directors unanimously approved Dr. John Jay Shannon as the interim CEO and began the process of searching for a permanent CEO.

The Board has hired the search firm Quick Leonard Kieffer, which has been used by CCH in its previous two searches for a CEO, as well as the filling of various other management positions, according to Board Chairman David Carvalho.

Quick Leonard Kieffer is being paid $100,000 to conduct the search for CCH’ CEO, which began in January.

“There’s two reasons why you hire a search firm,” Carvalho said. “A: They know the marketplace. They know where various people are, and B: They offer a mechanism for confidentiality.”

Since many of the strongest candidates already have jobs, confidentiality is crucial to protecting candidates’ relationships in their current positions, Carvalho added.

The search for a new CEO is expected to take several months.

“[Quick Leonard Kieffer] compiled a prospectus, a job description that lays out all of the relevant information to describe the job for prospective candidates, with some input gathered from board members,” Carvalho said. “They’re in the phase of the search of using their knowledge of the marketplace to look for people from across the country who they have reason to think has the skillset to do this job.”

While Carvalho could not share specific details about the CEO qualifications, he said, “We’re looking for someone to continue the vision Dr. [Ram] Raju established for Cook County Health & Hospitals System.”

The new CEO will be responsible for the management of an accountable care entity and management of the health care component.

“The person who heads our organization needs to manage the insurance-like aspects of CountyCare as well as the health care provision aspects of CountyCare,” he said, adding it is unlikely that a candidate will have extensive experience in managing both sides. “The person who we find may well be stronger on one side than the other and will likely have a subordinate who complements his or her weaknesses.”

Carvalho also declined to specify the proposed salary for the CEO. He said it will be “competitive with our peers in the public hospital systems.”

The Board expects to receive a portfolio of proposed candidates from Quick Leonard Kieffer in May. At that time, the Board will help the search firm in narrowing the field to a smaller group of candidates.

“And then we’ll have interviews with the smaller group, and then we’ll narrow it down to a group of finalists,” Carvalho said. “And we hope to conclude the process by the end of June. And then, if the past is any indication, the candidate will need a little time to extricate himself or herself from his or her current position. So, we wouldn’t expect a new person to be in place for several months after.”

Read the entire article at WTTW Chicago Tonight.