Odgers Berndtson Continues U.S. Expansion

April 18, 2017 – Odgers Berndtson has expanded with the additions of Lisa DeConto, Jane Swan, and Brad Pierce.

Ms. DeConto joins the firm as a partner and will serve clients in the financial services sector. She will continue to leverage her 20-plus years of experience in asset management and focus on recruitment across the spectrum of asset management roles, including chief investment officers, chief risk officers, and global heads of distribution. Prior to joining Odgers, she was a senior member of the asset and wealth management practice at Russell Reynolds Associates. Ms. DeConto is based in Boston.

“Being an effective search professional in today’s climate means going above and beyond identifying well-qualified candidates,” said Ms. DeConto. “It’s about benchmarking top talent against the mandate and market, and then assessing and advising our clients on the candidate who best fits their organization. Odgers Berndtson is well-positioned to do this in the asset and wealth management world given our recruiting expertise and commitment leadership assessment and development.”


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Ms. Swan joins the firm as a partner and will serve as head of its U.S. wealth management practice. Before joining Odgers Berndtson, she headed the wealth management practices at Sheffield Haworth, Korn Ferry, and Heidrick & Struggles. Based in New York, she brings over 20 years of search experience to her role in expanding Odgers’ wealth management practice.

“The wealth management industry is at an inflection point complicated by demographic shifts, the impact of technology and digitization, continuing regulatory reform, and investors with different expectations,” said Ms. Swan. “At the same time, financial services companies of all sizes are looking to the less capital-intensive wealth management business for consistent revenues and profits. We understand these realities intimately and are working actively with our wealth management clients to recruit and develop talent that can deliver the different skill sets and leadership competencies the market demands.”

Based in Dallas, Mr. Pierce joins the firm as a partner and will serve clients in the international consulting and professional services sector, where he has 17-plus years of experience. Prior to joining Odgers, he founded and built a boutique search firm, predated by roles with Korn Ferry, Russell Reynolds Associates, and Heidrick & Struggles.

“In professional services, the successful, long-term hires often come back to how well the search partner truly understands their client—from culture, services and industry focus, to firm history, market focus, non-competes, and compensation structure & philosophy,” said Mr. Pierce.

“We are delighted to add these three new partners to our firm during this exciting time in our growth and evolution,” said Steven Potter, CEO of Odgers Berndtson U.S. “The launch of two new practice areas — professional services and wealth management — and the strengthening of our financial services practice helps us continue to deliver on our commitment to provide clients with deep industry and functional specialists for their senior talent needs.”

Expansion Wave

Odgers Berndtson has enjoyed a wave of growth in recent months:

Just recently, it launched a new eSports practice. The search team, based out of Odgers’ London office, operates globally and has the support of the Odgers Berndtson international network, with a particular focus on the Asian and U.S. markets. As the eSports sector matures, the firm plans to network across broad geographies and markets to assist leagues, teams, sponsors and games publishers to access talent that will allow them to take advantage of the increasing awareness of global eSports.

In December, Odgers appointed Justin McLennan as managing partner for its Hong Kong office. Mr. McLennan has worked in executive search for over two decades in the Asia Pacific region, focusing on financial services. He has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 1997. Previously, he served as managing director of financial services recruiting boutique Pelham in Hong Kong. He is considered one of the top recruiters in Hong Kong having built several leading equities businesses for investment banks, boutiques and hedge funds, working for a handful of clients and representing their best interests in the Asia region.

The firm also expanded its technology practice in the U.S. with the addition of two new executive search specialists, Kathryn Ullrich and Rod Keller. Based in Silicon Valley, Ms. Ullrich focuses on senior executive searches for major corporations and venture-capital-backed companies in software, systems and services. She previously served as a principal with Heidrick & Struggles, where she led C-suite and VP level searches for technology, software and consulting companies. Located in Austin, Mr. Keller recruits professionals for private equity and venture capital firms in addition to recruiting senior level executives and directors for their portfolio companies. He was most recently a partner at Allen Austin.

In addition, Odgers launched a higher education practice in the U.S. and strengthened its life sciences and healthcare practices. In the process, the firm added four executive search industry specialists — Nick Brill, Allen Reed, Jennifer McDonough and Ora Smith. “Clients entrust us to recruit top talent eager to tackle business challenges unique to their transforming industries,” said Mr. Potter. “Our newest search specialists are authorities in their industries who are ready to help clients in pursuit of executives with a proven track record of success.”

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

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