Perpetual Insights Snags Sotheby's Talent Acquisition Leader as Part of Expansion

December 13, 2016 – Consumer brand recruitment firm Perpetual Insights has strengthened its search staff with the additions of James Thomas as a principal and Scott Barrett as a director. Both are based out of the firm’s Darien, CT and New York offices.

Mr. Thomas will lead the firm’s finance & accounting search practice with an exclusive focus on senior-level finance assignments (CFO, controller, chief accounting officer, corporate strategy, financial planning & analysis, investor relations, tax and treasury) for publicly held and privately owned companies within the consumer goods, luxury and lifestyle industries.

Mr. Thomas recently served as vice president of talent acquisition, North America, at Sotheby’s, where he was instrumental in creating and executing hiring strategies to compliment a transformational and digital growth strategy as the business modernized under new leadership.

Talent Acquisition Leaders Join Search Concerns

A number of search firms have been luring human resource and talent acquisition leaders into their organizations this past year — more so than in recent memory. Just last month, recruitment provider Grace Blue Partnership snagged Jean-Michel Wu, chief talent officer at ad agency McCann Worksgroup. He will will lead the firm’s expansion into Asia, bringing with him an assortment of talent management skills honed over a decade in the corporate sector.

“These are new and exciting career paths being developed for talent acquisition professionals,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media. “For CHROs, chief talent officers and other C-suite HR executives, the cross-over skills required are nearly identical.” At Sotheby’s, Mr. Thomas managed the auction house’s recruitment strategy and budget, external vendor relationships and talent mapping efforts.

Other search firms have pursued a similar strategy to add talent: Battalia Winston brought in a CHRO from Orchard Brands; Curran Partners hired a CHRO from MacroGenics; Johnson Executive Search added a CHRO from McKenna Long & Aldridge; Salveson Stetson added an SVP of HR from Henkel Corp.; Sheffield Haworth brought in a CHRO from Bloomberg and Plymouth Search Partners hired the CHRO from Success Academy Charter Schools.

Prior to Sotheby’s, Mr. Thomas spent a decade in London and New York with international search firm Page Executive partnering with luxury, retail, and consumer goods brands. That, of course, is the more traditional route to joining the ranks of headhunting firms.


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“James Thomas is a trusted business partner and talent strategist, representing the brightest and most exciting future leaders in the market today, and bringing carefully crafted and unique search strategies to every client,” said Steve Morrissey, a Perpetual Insights managing partner. “He also offers clients a unique insight into building internal talent functions and designing best practices and processes for in-house recruitment teams.”

Mr. Barrett will concentrate on mid to senior level supply chain and procurement assignments (VP supply chain, director, logistics, demand planning, supply planning) for publicly held and privately owned companies within the consumer goods industry.

Previously, Mr. Barrett served as managing director at FTI Consulting, an independent global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations manage change, mitigate risk, and create shareholder value. Coming into search through the strategic advisory business back door is the third way that business professionals enter recruiting.

Prior to his role in strategic advisory consulting, he worked in consumer goods on both the client and agency side developing brand strategies and activation programs. “Scott Barrett’s passion and expertise lies in partnering with clients to understand their business objectives prior to honing in on their specific search objectives in order to provide solutions that create brand value,” said Mr. Morrissey. “He is committed to ensuring client talent objectives are met.”

Perpetual Insights is a boutique recruitment and talent advisory firm focused exclusively on the consumer goods industry. Founded in 2013, its client list has grown to include innovative companies from startups to Fortune 500 companies in food & beverage, wine & spirits, luxury & retail, beauty & personal care, household goods, consumer durables & electronics, media, digital & ad agency.

Earlier this year, Perpetual Insights launched its executive search and human resources consulting arm, Pi Executive. It named Pierre Trippitelli to lead the new division. Previously, he served as a member of the global consumer practice at Korn Ferry.

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

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