Focus Search Partners Acquires Southerland Group

Purchase Expands Retained Search Services to Health Care Systems

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Retained executive search firm Focus Search Partners, a Vaco company, has acquired Southerland Group, which further complements its existing expertise across the health care industry. Southerland Group is a nationally recognized retained executive search firm with specialization in complex integrated delivery systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and payer organizations.

Founded in 2014, Keith Southerland and his team will join Focus Search Partners’ leadership team under the agreement. Southerland brings more than three decades of experience leading executive search for health care provider organizations to the firm and has conducted more than 1,100 searches for nonprofit multi-hospital health systems, professional associations, pediatric health systems, public hospitals, academic medical centers and managed care organizations.

Prior to founding Southerland Group, Southerland focused on CEO and C-suite searches for health care systems nationwide at Korn Ferry International. He entered the executive search field as a consultant for Witt/Kieffer, helping to establish the firm’s first regional office. During his tenure, he helped expand the firm’s practice across the Southeast, and became executive vice president of consulting for the firm’s search practices, including provider systems, information technology, higher education, and managed care/insurance.

“Throughout my career, I have endeavored to bring the highest level of quality, integrity, and customer service to our clients,” Southerland said. “Joining the Focus Search Partners team allows us to continue delivering unparalleled service to our clients, supported by the broad range of talent solutions and resources available through access to Vaco and its entire family of brands. “Focus Search Partners is a leader within the health care services executive search industry. Through the acquisition, the firm will boast more than forty tenured consultants. The firm also has an interim executive services platform that specializes in serving the private equity market and supports organizations needing high-caliber C-suite leaders at pivotal moments.

“Keith brings a wealth of experience and an exceptional health care legacy to the Focus Search Partners team,” said Paul Frankenberg, founder and managing partner of Focus Search Partners. “He fits perfectly into our team’s culture, and his clients and candidates speak highly of their experience with Keith and his firm. Through this acquisition, we can deliver even more robust service offerings to our clients.”

About Focus Search Partners, A Vaco Company

Founded in 2001, Focus Search Partners was acquired by Vaco in 2014 to become the retained executive search division of Vaco, a global talent solutions firm. With 35+ team members and 13 partners across nine states, Focus Search Partners specializes in building teams to grow companies, focusing on recruiting board members, executives, and senior-level individuals. For more information, visit

About Vaco

Vaco delivers critical talent solutions to our clients by providing consulting, project resources, executive search, direct hire and strategic staffing solutions with expertise in accounting and finance, technology and operations. In addition to Vaco, our family of brands includes MorganFranklin Consulting, a methodology-driven global consulting platform; Pivot Point Consulting, a best in KLAS healthcare IT solutions provider; and Focus Search Partners, a retained executive search practice. Since its founding in 2002, Vaco has grown to serve more than 12,000 clients across the globe with 10,000 employees. Vaco has been named to Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies for the past 15 years and was named to Forbes’ 2018-2021 lists of America’s Best Recruiting Firms.


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