accelHRate Recruits CHRO for Engility Holdings

May 16, 2016 – HR executive search and management consulting firm accelHRate has placed Susan Balaguer as senior vice president and chief human resources officer (CHRO) of Engility Holdings, Inc.

Kimberly Shanahan, founding president and chief executive officer, led the search along with vice president Kelly McPherson.

Engility Holdings, together with its subsidiaries, provides integrated solutions and services for the U.S. government, supporting customers throughout defense, intelligence, space, federal civilian, and international communities.

Ms. Balaguer will report directly to Lynn Dugle, Engility’s CEO. She brings over 20 years of experience to her new position at Engility. Most recently, she served as senior vice president of human resources operations at CACI International, Inc. She also worked at ASRC Federal, the VT Group and Raytheon.

“Susan has strong leadership capabilities coupled with deep expertise in all areas of human resources,” said Ms. Shanahan. “She brings to the company 25 years of relevant industry experience as Engility seeks to attract, develop and retain the very best talent across the industry.”


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The CHRO market is extremely active at the moment, said Ms. Shanahan. Reasons for the demand vary, she noted, including retirements, upgrades of the function, and loss of CHROs to other companies. accelHRate recently recruited Sean Huurman as CHRO of Service King, operator of nearly 300 collision repair centers in 23 states across the U.S.

The role of CHROs and their direct reports continues to evolve in terms of complexity and impact,” said Ms. Shanahan. These leaders, she added, are at the heart of linking business strategy with talent strategy and have an enormous amount of levers to work with these days. Ms. Shanahan has developed a track record of helping organizations build and develop high-impact leadership teams. Before launching accelHRate in 2014, she spent more than eight years with Korn Ferry, most recently serving as senior client partner and managing director of the firm’s human resources practice covering North America. She also spent five years with Heidrick & Struggles.

A strong HR organization, she noted, is now tasked with optimizing data / analytics, systems, talent development & management, talent acquisition, change management, workforce planning, M&A due diligence & integration, risk, succession planning, and total rewards, among other areas.

Rival search specialists agree. Once a mid-level staff position, the head of human resources today sits at the elbow of the CEO and maintains one of the most influential positions within senior management, said recruiters in the midst of their own CHRO assignments. The job now, they say, plays an integral, strategic role in driving companies forward.

CHROs are truly being asked to define a ‘new world order’ that will look dramatically different in 10 years’ time as it relates to the workforce and its relationship with businesses,” said Mike Bergen, managing partner & global practice leader (human resources) at Allegis Partners. “The leading HR thinkers will have to align their thinking around what their organizations need most critically from the HR function in tomorrow‘s economy in order to compete and win. They need to think about how to stretch the typical expectations of their CEOs with regard to the HR function,” and that, he said, takes courage for CHROs who have grown up in the old paradigm.

“We spend considerable time helping CEOs translate what they need from a business perspective to the type of HR executive that would best meet their needs today and in the future,” said Ms. Shanahan. CEOs know who they connect with, she said, “which is extremely important, but sometimes they need help ensuring that they also get the experiences, style, competencies and ability to influence and impact an entire company at all levels and geographies.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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