Lancer Group Lands CEO for First Advantage

May 5, 2017 – La Jolla, CA-headquartered executive search firm The Lancer Group has placed Scott Staples as CEO of First Advantage, an Atlanta-based provider of comprehensive background screening, identity, and information solutions. Partner Simon Francis led the assignment.

Mr. Staples most recently worked at Mindtree, a digital transformation and information technology services company, which he co-founded in 1999. He was president of the Americas and head of vertical markets. Mr. Staples helped Mindtree grow to $800 million in revenue and 16,000 employees. He also was a major player in the firm’s 2007 initial public offering (IPO), considered one of the most successful for an IT firm. Two years ago, Ernst & Young named Mr. Staples ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in technology services. Previously, Mr. Staples worked for Cambridge Technology Partners, where he was a director, and Gemini Consulting’s North American financial services practice, where he was director of marketing.


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First Advantage is a portfolio company of Symphony Technology Group. “Scott has an outstanding track record of strong leadership,” said Romesh Wadhwani, chairman and CEO of the private equity and capital venture firm. “His entrepreneurial style, strong client focus, global experience, and proven experience in driving innovation uniquely qualified him to successfully lead First Advantage into the future.”

Symphony Technology, based in Palo Alto, acquired First Advantage from CoreLogic for $265 million in 2010. The PE firm specializes in software and services companies. The firm was founded in 2002, has a portfolio with $2.5 billion in revenue and, collectively, it employs more than 15,000 people.

Mr. Staples replaces Mark Parise, who ran First Advantage for four years. Mr. Parise helped grow the company into one of the top global players in the business backgrounding field. He is moving to a supporting role with Symphony Technology Group as investor and strategic senior advisor. Among his accomplishments, First Advantage established a presence in 97 percent of the countries around the world.

With offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, First Advantage provides fully scalable, configurable screening programs for businesses and housing providers. Last year at the Human Resources Vendor of the Year Awards, the firm was honored with two gold and one bronze awards as the best background screening provider in South Pacific Asia.

The Lancer Group is an executive search firm used by private equity firms, their portfolio companies and public corporations to deliver top leaders. The firm specializes in board-driven search mandates, including CEOs, CFOs, C-suite executives and board directors as well as private equity investment professionals and operating partners. It has provided strategic counsel to clients across a range of industries and has particular expertise in technology, industrial, energy, healthcare and consumer markets.

Mr. Francis’ practice focus is serving private equity and other illiquid investors, primarily running CEO, CFO and C-suite searches for their portfolio companies worldwide. He is co-founder and managing partner of L Capital, the private equity investment affiliate of The Lancer Group.


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Recent Search Work

The Lancer Group recently recruited Ed Daihl as CEO of Accela, a provider of cloud-based productivity and civic engagement solutions to government agencies worldwide. In this new role, Mr. Daihl brings four decades of government, SaaS, and systems integration experience to Accela in addition to having a track record of driving top-line growth and increased margins for public and private equity-backed companies.

In February, the firm tapped Paul Salay as CEO of Gladson Interactive, a provider of digital content and retail omni-channel optimization solutions for the consumer-packaged goods and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries. Most recently, Mr. Salay served as chief commercial officer of Cision, a GTCR-backed public relations technology firm.

Lancer Group also recently placed Craig Halliday as CEO of EMS Software, a JMI equity-backed provider of meeting and room scheduling software solutions to Fortune 100 companies, higher education institutions, law firms, conference centers, and government organizations. Mr. Halliday has over 20 years of experience leading top companies in the enterprise software space and a strong track record of growing business to achieve consistent and profitable growth.

Also in February, the firm recruited Tom Mahowald as CEO of Pioneer Medical Group (PMG), one of Southern California’s premier multispecialty physician-owned healthcare providers. In this new role, Mr. Mahowald brings to PMG over 15 years of deep general management experience across complex multi-site healthcare organizations.

Contributed by Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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