May 12, 2017 – There have been a number of top leadership appointments at search firms since the start of the year, many focused on strategy, growth, branding efforts and operations. The latest: Executive search firm Cobalt Recruitment has named James Wakefield as its new chief executive officer.
Mr. Wakefield joined Cobalt in 2007 coming from the management team at Michael Page in London. Earlier, he served six years as an officer in the British Army. He was deployed on multiple operational tours and received a Queen’s Commendation. In 2009, Mr. Wakefield moved to the UAE to help Cobalt establish a presence in the region, and in 2014 he was promoted to international managing director, adding the Asia and New Zealand businesses to his duties.
“James has a strong track record and reputation for the creation and delivery of strategy, having successfully led our nascent international businesses through to market-leading positions,” said Adam Walker, co-founder of Cobalt. “Over the last decade, he has gained a broad understanding of our global business, spearheading a number of group level initiatives and drawing together our senior talent across the world. His expertise as a highly experienced leader, senior client relationship manager and seasoned recruiter, made our decision to appoint him as CEO an obvious one.”
“This structural change for the firm will ensure that the next phase of our global growth is achieved,” Mr. Walker said. “It is important for the company to now have a single point of accountability as our geographic reach and services increase; James’s knowledge of the business as a whole will be invaluable in this regard.”
“Having joined when Cobalt was just 70 strong and solely based in the U.K., it has been both rewarding and fascinating to play a role in building the company into the truly global force that we are today,” said Mr. Walker. “I have a clear vision to tackle every challenge, invest in our people, embrace technology and the ways in which the industry is evolving and ensure that Cobalt really can consider itself to be the very best recruitment company in every single jurisdiction in which we operate.”
Cobalt provides executive search services to the real estate, finance, accounting and banking, construction and engineering sectors. Its client base encompasses companies from large corporate organizations to niche entrepreneurial entities. The firm serves clients throughout the U.K., Europe, Middle East, Asia and New Zealand.
Leadership Appointments Rising Across the Sector
Leadership appointments have been gaining traction at executive search firms in recent months. Here’s a look at several taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- Witt/Kieffer named Andrew P. Chastain as its new CEO taking over from Charles ‘Chuck’ W.B. Wardell who remains a senior advisor to the firm. Mr. Biegenzahn has been with the firm since 1997 and currently serves as managing partner and chairman of its healthcare practice.
- McDermott & Bull appointed Brandon Biegenzahn as its new president. Mr. Biegenzahn has been one of the top producers at McDermott & Bull for several years and leads the firm’s financial institutions practice.
- SRiCheyenne named Jay Hussey as CEO. Chief executive and founder, Pat Mastandrea, has moved into a new role at the firm as vice chairman. He joined SRiCheyenne from Odgers Berndston where he led the firm’s U.S. technology and digital transformation practices.
- Legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) and executive search firm Allegis Partners named John Cashman as president. Since joining Major, Lindsey & Africa in 2005, Mr. Cashman has risen through the ranks as a recruiter, manager and leader.
- Eric Salmon & Partners announced that its long-standing president, Massimo Milletti, has handed over management of the search firm to two partners who will co-head the partnership. Sophie Wigniolle from the firm’s Paris office will lead the together with Raoul Nacke, a managing director in Frankfurt. Ms. Wigniolle has been working for Eric Salmon since 1998 while Mr. Nacke has been with the firm since 2008.
- JR Partners named Josh Gonnella as president and senior managing partner. He joins founding partner and chief operating officer Joe Wein to lead the organization. He brings experience and a diverse career in financial services to the firm. Prior to accepting his new position, he held senior managing director roles at Lloyds Bank.
- Snodgrass Partners recently announced that Tom Jacobs will transition from sports recruitment partner to president. Founder Steve Snodgrass, who previously served as president and chief executive officer, will remain CEO. Mr. Jacobs joined Snodgrass Partners last year to lead the firm’s new sports division.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media