Spencer Stuart Strengthens Leadership Advisory Group

Clients in EMEA, as elsewhere, are facing disruption, added complexity and growing competitive intensity in their businesses, and the stakes for leadership decisions are higher than ever before.

May 16, 2017 – With an evident need among client companies growing and an opportunity to expand ancillary services offerings to meet that demand, a number of executive search firms are launching or adding to their leadership consulting advisory practices.

This month, Spencer Stuart announced three appointments to its leadership advisory services group in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Brought on board are Daniel Ellis, Nicholas Falk and Dustin Seale. They are based in the firm’s London office.

Mr. Ellis, previously a partner with Baker & McKenzie, has worked advising clients across a range of sectors on domestic and global HR and employment issues, the firm said. He regularly speaks at industry conferences on the subject, trains clients, and is widely published. He has also spent time on secondment to Goldman Sachs and Accenture in London.

Mr. Falk has deep experience assessing senior executives as well as supporting them through coaching and leadership development. Previously, he was a business psychologist and managing consultant with YSC Ltd. Before that, he was a clinical psychologist, providing therapy, diagnosis and assessment.

Mr. Seale is a global thought leader and practitioner in leadership and corporate culture with 24 years of experience in corporate culture and organizational transformation. He joins Spencer Stuart from Senn Delaney, the culture-shaping division of Heidrick & Struggles, where he was partner in charge, EMEA. Mr. Seale has worked in the C-Suite of many Global 1000 companies, with experience in more than 50 countries.

“Our clients in EMEA, as elsewhere, are facing disruption, added complexity and growing competitive intensity in their businesses, and the stakes for leadership decisions are higher than ever before,” said Patrick Hynes, Spencer Stuart’s global leadership advisory services leader. “Daniel, Nicholas and Dustin will enhance our ability to provide deep insight about individual leaders, culture and team dynamics that enables our clients to make better leadership decisions related to mergers and acquisitions, culture alignment, top team effectiveness, executive development, and CEO and senior executive onboarding.”

Growing Trend

Advisory boards and leadership services have come into vogue at a number of executive search and talent acquisition firms. This spring, Russell Reynolds Associates launched a separate board and CEO advisory division within the firm. The shift takes the nation’s No. 5 search firm beyond its core recruiting business and further into process planning, assessment, strategy & performance measurement, and culture shaping.

The advisory group brings together the expertise of six of the firm’s board experts, whose proficiencies and diverse perspectives will be used to enhance the board performance of clients by helping to proactively plan director and CEO succession, review board effectiveness, design and implement best-in-class corporate governance processes, and assess board culture and values. Justus O’Brien was named co-leader of the firm’s division in New York, where he serves as a managing director. He has established and well regarded board advisory relationships with Fortune and FTSE 100 companies across all industry sectors. Charles Tribbett is the other co-leader. He serves as a managing director in Chicago. He is a senior advisor to corporate boards and CEOs in the area of corporate governance, fiduciary responsibilities and diversity in the boardroom.

“Our clients today face unprecedented challenges in the marketplace. Never before has board performance been under such intense scrutiny by a range of stakeholders, including institutional investors, regulators and employees,” said Clarke Murphy, CEO of Russell Reynolds.

Heidrick & Struggles recently acquired Decision Strategies International (DSI), a Philadelphia-based strategy and leadership advisory firm. Founded in 1990 by Paul Schoemaker, DSI has advised some of the world’s best-known organizations, specializing in strategic planning and decision making in uncertain operating environments, leadership development, and talent strategy. Twenty-five employees, including five partners, come with the deal.

“The acquisition of DSI accelerates the growth of our leadership consulting platform with proven expertise and solutions to help our clients build the leadership capabilities they need to succeed in a volatile, fast-changing world,” said Tracy R. Wolstencroft, then-president and CEO of Heidrick & Struggles.

Boutique Firms Follow


But this trend goes beyond just the big firms. Boutiques are also seeing the value of offering leadership focused consulting services.

Odgers Berndtson started a leadership consulting unit recently, but has now expanded the practice to include executive and team leadership assessment, coaching and onboarding. Organizational psychologist Dr. Robert Satterwhite is spearheading the new effort. Dr. Satterwhite, who is based in the firm’s New York office, has extensive experience designing and delivering robust assessments for measuring executives’ potential, readiness and fit. Over his nearly 20-year career, he has served a wide range of industries, including retail, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical, hospitality and federal organizations.

“With a shortage of qualified leaders in the marketplace, an executive team replacement strategy is critical for organizations to build and sustain strong growth,” said Steve Potter, managing partner at Odgers Berndtson in the U.S. “Our new leadership practice will help boards of directors and CEOs build their C-level bench by rigorously assessing and developing executives so they can quickly jump into action and tackle difficult business challenges – whether they’re new hires or up-and-coming leaders.”

Organizations are demanding a higher level of rigor in their vetting process, said Dr. Satterwhite. “We are working with more and more clients on evaluating executives, both externally as new hires and also internally to identify and develop those who have the potential to be the next leaders.”

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor — Hunt Scanlon Media

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