Curran Partners Adds Former CHRO As Partner

May 25, 2016 – Executive search firm Curran Partners has added Robert F. Obst as a new partner.

Mr. Obst brings more than 40 years of corporate experience in talent acquisition and organizational development. His “inside experience and perspective will be most helpful in recruiting, as well as providing HR consulting services,” said the firm in a statement.

Most recently, he was chief human resources and facilities officer (CHRO) for MacroGenics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company in Rockville, MD. He was a key member of the company’s senior management team as MacroGenics grew from early start-up through clinical development, became publicly-traded, and formed partnerships with several major pharma companies.

Prior to MacroGenics he was the chief human resources executive leading MedImmune’s (now AstraZeneca) growth from early-stage development through regulatory approval and commercial launch. He established the human resources function at both MedImmune and MacroGenics. Earlier in his career, he held HR positions with American Cyanamid (now Pfizer), SmithKline Beckman (now GlaxoSmithKline), and W.R. Grace.


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“After leaving the corporate environment, Michael Curran offered me a unique opportunity to develop a new career,” said Mr. Obst. “I think HR executives coming out of industry have much to offer a search firm. We have a good understanding of what organizations value, what they need, and how they do things. In addition, we can complement the search process by providing HR consulting services to support a client’s organizational development efforts.” Former HR executives have also developed many professional relationships over the years, he said, which can be invaluable for business development and sourcing candidates.

Established in 1989, Curran Partners serves the recruiting needs of companies in the consumer and industrial products, healthcare & life sciences, and business-to-business services sectors. Its clients include public and private U.S. organizations and, to a significant extent, foreign entities establishing or enhancing their U.S.-based operations.

Hunt Scanlon Media has seen a recent trend among top ranking HR executives reestablishing themselves as executive recruiters:

“Executive search can provide the ability to have impact across a variety of companies, industries and geographies,” said Kimberly Shanahan, president and chief executive officer of accelHRate, an executive search firm focused on the senior level HR function. “CHROs are able to take their corporate experiences to understand their clients’ business and individual challenges. Well networked CHROs are able to leverage their relationships from a client and candidate perspective,” she added.

But many who make this career move are surprised at how challenging the work can be. “There are elements of business development that many do not enjoy,” said Ms. Shanahan. Others, she said, have discussed the roller coaster ride that executive search can be, with its extreme highs and lows. “We tend to see more CHROs go into HR consulting rather than executive search as that area tends to be more aligned with their expertise.”

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

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