March 20, 2017 – Boutique recruiting firm Young Search Partners has placed John A. Cunningham as chief revenue officer (CRO) at software innovator DiSTI Corporation. Managing partner and search firm president Katherine Young led the assignment.
After a nationwide talent hunt, Mr. Cunninghan emerged as the top candidate. He comes to DiSTI with 25 years of experience in the IT and software industry and has held senior executive sales and marketing roles with some of the world’s leading technology companies where he specialized in developing new markets.
“The expanding demand for DiSTI’s virtualized training and user interface technology into adjacent markets was a key driver in our decision to hire John,” said John Regazzi, DiSTI corporation chairman. “His experience in building world class sales and marketing organizations will help us scale our business into these new industries and international markets.”
The global market for virtualization and simulation technologies is ready for widespread adoption, said Mr. Cunningham. “DiSTI is already an established leader in the aerospace and defense industry and is well positioned to become a leader in other industry segments where these technologies can improve customer experiences. I am pleased to join DiSTI at this pivotal time and help lead the expansion into new market.”
DiSTI Corporation is a provider of graphical user interface software and customized 3-D virtual maintenance training solutions. Its flagship product, GL Studio, delivers advanced high-performance 3-D user interfaces to the aerospace, automotive, medical, and training industries.
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Ms. Young formed Young Search Partners in 2009 and has over 20 years of experience in the executive search industry. Her recruiting experience has spanned across industry and functional roles in the U.S. and internationally to include search assignments in the consumer & retail, hospitality & restaurant, manufacturing, non-profit, financial & professional services, and healthcare sectors, with a focus on senior executive leadership roles in human resources, finance, operations, supply chain, sales & marketing, communications and public affairs.
Ms. Young’s corporate clients include a number of blue chip concerns, including TECO Energy; Jabil; Raymond James; Masonite International; Tech Data; Intelident Solutions; Catalina Marketing; The ATP Tennis Tour; Tupperware Brands; The Children’s Home; The Centre for Women; Checkers / Rally; Bloomin Brands; Darden; Big Brothers Big Sisters State Association of Florida; Ansell; SSAB Steel; AAA Auto club; and Healthplan Services.
Ms. Young recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the search and explore the latest trends in CRO recruitment. Here’s an excerpt from that discussion.
Katherine, what prompted DiSTI to create a new CRO role?
The DiSTI Corporation, as a software simulation innovator, has benefited from significant growth over the last several years and is well positioned particularly in the DoD, aerospace and defense sectors with opportunities for growth on the commercial software side of their business. DiSTI recognized, as did their private equity partners, the need to create a new role for a CRO as a pivotal role to lead strategy to generate profitable revenue. It was also appealing for a software and engineering company like DiSTI, whose leadership have product and engineering backgrounds, to add a CRO that brings revenue and customer ‘DNA’ to complement their skills, and a sales leader who can translate initial traction to lasting growth.
What type of leader was DiSTI looking for?
DiSTI was looking for a sales and marketing veteran who brought demonstrated success and accomplishment building and leading sales and marketing organizations as well as personally executing a revenue growth strategy. The leadership profile we sought in a CRO was success in scaling revenues, building relationships, managing a sales team, identifying and developing cross- channel marketing and partner relationships in the commercial software sector.
“The CRO has been, until recently, a role seen mostly in start-ups and smaller businesses to keep an eye on the bottom line while the rest of the C-level team grew key partnerships, looked for growth opportunities or sourced funding. Now, larger businesses that are past the initial growth hurdle are viewing the CRO post as an essential, longer-term role, the key to aligning departments company-wide in a concerted effort to raise revenue.”
What specific skill sets and attributes were you looking for?
A self-starter with passion, energy, critical thinking and leadership skills, goal and results orientation, maturity and professionalism.
That’s quite a check list. Is the CRO post expanding to bigger companies?
The CRO has been, until recently, a role seen mostly in start-ups and smaller businesses to keep an eye on the bottom line while the rest of the C-level team grew key partnerships, looked for growth opportunities or sourced funding. Now, larger businesses that are past the initial growth hurdle are viewing the CRO post as an essential, longer-term role, the key to aligning departments company-wide in a concerted effort to raise revenue. As positions in companies evolve, the CRO may be referred to (or confused most often with) the chief sales and marketing officer or chief development officer, but the real distinction is the broader go-to-market strategy that the CRO develops and executes around every aspect of revenue generation and growth. A chief revenue officer in today’s new world of media and technology, is a new breed. Expertise and passion as a company builder are needed to be successful in the CRO role, one who can broker any number of diverse go-to-market strategies through to scale.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media