Building Strong Leadership at the CEO and Board Level

March 19, 2024

A Q&A Session with Klein Hersh’s Amanda Zlotnikoff

From preclinical organizations to commercial pharma and biotech companies, securing exceptional leadership in the role of chief executive officer (CEO) and across a company’s board of directors is paramount to success. We sat down with our own Amanda Zlotnikoff to discuss how the CEO and Board practice area at Klein Hersh helps our partners engage the right talent to manage highly specific goals and expectations.

Let’s begin with an overview of the CEO and Board practice area at Klein Hersh.

This is a longstanding practice area at the firm. We focus exclusively on filling the roles of CEO, independent board member, chair and executive chair. Our firm partners closely with venture-backed biotech companies that range from private seed stage, series A, B, and C companies, through public companies under $10 billion market cap. The team includes myself and my two partners―Josh Albert and Jared Kaleck.

What specifics can you share about the various roles you recruit for?

We specialize in filling a diverse range of roles cutting across various therapeutic areas, modalities and stages. Every company is unique, with its own set of needs. There are numerous complexities involved in each search, which makes our work very interesting.

Tell us about the most sought-after skills when identifying potential CEOs and board members.

There’s not one specific skillset I could pinpoint. The key skills are always company- and position-dependent. With that said, in the industry we work, we’re always looking for leaders who inspire innovation and collaboration. Every role requires specific expertise, and it’s our job to communicate effectively with our partners and work closely together to determine the exact needs. We may be looking for a scientific background, business background, clinical background, etc. It’s about finding the perfect match. Our ability to identify candidates with the proper expertise, as well as the drive and passion for the company’s mission, is why our partners lean on us to fill these critical roles. 

How has this practice area evolved in recent years and what changes do you see on the horizon?

I joined Klein Hersh in October 2021. At that time, this practice area had already been established by my partners Jared and Josh. During my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in the very fast-paced, ever-changing environment, as along with the natural ups and downs that come with the market. As time progresses and our network continues to grow, we’re getting involved with new companies, new partners and new areas of science, and helping our partners continue to grow. It’s been very rewarding to see how this practice area has expanded in terms of our relationships and the companies we’ve been able to engage with.

What enables Klein Hersh to excel in recruiting top talent?

The way our firm is structured truly sets us apart and allows us to excel in what we do. In addition to our domain expertise, we’re built to mirror our biotech partners. For every area within a biotech company, Klein Hersh has a dedicated group of individuals who specialize in that area. In our given practices, each of us have the opportunity to get to know potential candidates on both a professional and a personal level. We’re able to build lasting relationships, and we have a long history with many of our partners. We know their business well and work closely with them to understand their needs and how we can help them succeed. Our team is highly collaborative and we all work together to create the very best outcomes for our partners. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

First and foremost, I love talking to people, learning about them, and building strong relationships with both candidates and partners. It’s really fulfilling to be involved in building some of the most innovative companies in the industry. There’s also a very personal connection for me. When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. I’ve been taking insulin almost my entire life and have always paid close attention to anything new and innovative being created for people living with type 1. It’s exciting to interact with so many brilliant individuals who are developing treatments that may one day help me, and are making a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world across every therapeutic area. I feel very fortunate to be a part of it.

Authored by
Amanda Zlotnikoff
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About the Author
Amanda is a member of the CEO and Board practice at Klein Hersh. Having joined in 2021, she partners closely with investors and board members of emerging biotech companies. As a member of the CEO and Board practice, Amanda’s responsibilitie