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James W. Gauss

James W. Gauss, Chairman of Board Services, has more than three decades of experience advising board members and CEOs on board succession planning, skill set evaluation and recruiting in periods of rapid change and transformation. He combines industry expertise and research in his work with not-for-profit, academic, healthcare and corporate boards across the country. In his previous role as president and CEO of Witt/Kieffer, Jim counseled hundreds of boards and search committees on succession planning and recruitment, organizational structure, core competencies for successful trustees and C-suite executives, leadership assessment, diversity and effective onboarding, among many other areas. 

Currently serving on the National Board of Advisors for the American Hospital Association’s Center for Healthcare Governance, Jim thoroughly understands the culture of today’s successful boards as well as the needs of high-performing boards in the future. He has recruited business leaders from a broad range of disciplines, is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and has been widely-quoted on board issues both in the general business and health press, including Directors & Boards, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CEO Update, Trustee, Hospitals & Health Networks, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Diversity Executive, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Becker's Hospital Review and Inside Higher Education. He regularly presents to healthcare and business audiences nationally. 

Jim’s executive search experience includes participating in more than 700 executive search consulting engagements during the course of his career. Named by BusinessWeek as one of the top 100 most influential executive search consultants worldwide, he has deep relationships with boards and industry leaders within healthcare, insurance/managed care, higher education as well as with a wide variety of other businesses and foundations. Jim assists boards in assessing where gaps exist in current areas of expertise; planning for future board member succession; and recruiting trustees and directors who have the vision and skills to achieve an organization’s strategic goals. 

Jim has also been widely recognized for his work on diversity and disparities of care issues. He is widely published in this area and recently served two terms as a board member with the American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity, and chaired a task force on Advancing Diversity in Governance and Leadership.


M.H.A., Washington University, Saint Louis, MO
B.A., Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI


Thought Leadership

The Board Compensation Debate
Architect of the Future: Chief Strategy Officer is Powerful Addition to C-Suite
New Blood for Your Board
Recruiting the Right Mix
Integration; Patient Perspective Key to Healthcare Transformation
The Board's Role in Developing a Diverse Leadership Team
Recession Reaction
When Healthcare Organizations Cultivate Diversity, Outcomes Improve
Why Boards Must Match CEO Competencies with Strategic Priorities
Bring Your Board Into the Digital Era
Diversity Tone at the Top
Strategic Skills Loom Large in Board Recruitment
Executive Talent Management: Smart Investing in Executive Talent Management
Diversity: Adopt These Strategies to Help Advance Diversity
Podcast: Bringing Rigor to Board Succession Planning
Trustees: Governing Boards Must Align Skills with Need
Trustees: New Faces in the Boardroom
Trustees: The New CEO - Four Ways to Make the Transition a Success
Board Services: For Retirees on Corporate Boards, the Rewards Go Beyond Cash
Board Services: Population Health and the Balanced Board
James W. Gauss
Chairman of Board Services
2 Park Plaza
Suite 1140
Irvine, CA 92614
Phone: 949-851-5070
Fax: 949-851-2412
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