APhA begins search for CEO

June 16, 2008

The American Pharmacists Association has already put in place plans for a smooth transition to a new chief executive officer in 2009

"It has been close to 20 years since the organization has needed to hire a new CEO," explained David Miles, chairman of Miles Lehane. "APhA recognized that there were a lot of important variables involved and that finding a chief executive has changed dramatically in that time."

"I am proud of my years of service to patients and the pharmacy profession," Gans told attendees at the conference in March. "Leading APhA for almost 20 years has been a sincere privilege and honor. Also, I am very proud that APhA continues to identify, create, and support opportunities for pharmacists to make a difference in the lives of patients."

According to Miles, APhA began the process by assembling a committee to establish the key criteria for selecting a new CEO. "APhA spent a lot of time trying to build consensus on the criteria," he said.

Many pharmacy leaders strongly believe that APhA should be led by a pharmacist. "I do think it has to be a pharmacist; there are really good people in pharmacy executive jobs around the industry," commented Lucinda Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph., executive VP of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. Maine was part of the team at APhA that helped hire Gans back in 1989. Prior to joining APhA, Gans was Dean of the School of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science.

Like many, Maine believes that the next APhA leader may come out of the for-profit side of the profession. "We need a fabulous practitioner leader," she explained. "APhA CEOs for a long time have come out of academia. That's great, but in the coming years, we need someone who has done it all and can run a highly complex $30 million organization."

Maine would not comment on whether she was interested in the position herself. Speculation has also circled around Susan Winckler, another former APhA staffer who is currently chief of staff at the Food & Drug Administration. Winckler, who declined to comment on the position, was on the staff at APhA before she joined FDA.

The timeline for change

At the convention Gans insisted that now was the best time for a change. "I believe that 2009 is the right time for a leadership transition for a number of reasons," he told attendees. "The association is operationally sound, has a superb staff, and is well positioned for continued success."

So far the effort seems to be on track. APhA has already received many applications through a special Web site the organization set up for the search: http://www.aphaceosearch.com/. Miles expects the list to be pared down to 10 candidates by September or October with the final three candidates selected before the end of the year.

"As we embark upon our search for a new leader for APhA, we look forward to building on Dr. Gans' legacy, and to leading APhA and the profession to even higher levels of achievement," said Timothy Tucker, president of APhA.