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AVH CEO job opening posted

May 17, 2016

A rendering of Aspen Valley Hospital once all development phases are completed. The next CEO will oversee the final stages of the master plan.
Credit courtesy photos

Four months after Aspen Valley Hospital CEO Dan Bonk resigned, the vacant position has been posted on an elite recruiting website.

AVH will likely be operating under interim CEO Terry Collins for the rest of the year. A 15-page job description says the cut off for applications is Aug. 8.

While the job opening has just been posted on the website of search firm Witt/Kieffer, AVH board member David Eisenstat said the hiring process launched when the last CEO resigned in January.


“The first thing we did was really determine what our goal in the search was, which was really to attract a large field of highly qualified candidates,” said Eisenstat. “The next challenge of course was to define what makes a highly qualified candidate.”

In order to do that, Witt/Kieffer staff traveled to Aspen to conduct community interviews. The firm conducted 25 interviews with hospital and private medical providers, AVH executives and the board of directors. That feedback was then rolled into an updated job description.

While the high ratings of patient experience and financial security should be draws for top talent, the institution's designation as a public hospital can create a “chilling effect” on the applicant field.

“We are required to interview the finalists in a public forum,” Eisenstat said. “Their names will be published. And in effect their current employers and the people who report to them and who they report to will all be on notice that they are hunting for a new job. That creates some unique challenges”  

Eisenstat said the average tenure of a hospital CEO is around 5 years. The next leader will be tasked with overseeing the final phases of the hospital’s $148 million master plan, which includes a new emergency department. Another directive in the job description reads that the candidate must “quickly assimilate into the Roaring Fork Valley … and, where applicable, have his/her significant other and family fully relocate to Aspen in a short period of time.”

Bonk cited the distance from his wife and children in Wisconsin as a reason for his resignation.

Witt/Kieffer is the same consultant used two years ago when Bonk was hired. Because he didn’t stay for at least three years, the head hunting firm is not charging AVH for its hiring services — just its out of pocket costs for the background interviews. Witt/Kieffer will conduct all the initial screenings and pass the top applicants on to the board.

“Our search consultant has shared with me that he’s already compiled a list of some 300 names,” said Eisenstat.