StraussGroup Acquires Fiorella Search Group

October 24, 2016 – Buffalo-based search firm StraussGroup has acquired Fiorella Search Group, a boutique recruiter dedicated to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology & medical sectors. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Fiorella Search Group brand will not remain. The firm’s founder, Nicole Fiorella, has joined the StraussGroup team as managing director.

In 1996, Ms. Fiorella began her career in recruitment and established herself as one of the top pharmaceutical and biotech recruiters. Through the First Interview Network, she has won recruitment excellence awards for recruiting every year consecutively since 1998. In the fall of 2003, Ms. Fiorella acquired a Buffalo-based search firm and in March 2010 she formed Fiorella Search Group.

StraussGroup has an internal staff of 18 people and operates nationwide. The firm serves various industries including, banking and financial services (including mortgage banking and insurance); medical devices; life sciences & healthcare (including hospitals and provider systems); construction & real estate; and technology & engineering (including information technology and outsourcing/call center).

Randy Strauss, the firm’s founder and managing partner, specializes in the financial services sector – primarily focused on tapping mortgage banking and retail/commercial banking talent. He also places C-suite and senior level executives across a broad range of other industries.

Big Search Firms Look to Acquisitions for Growth …

For executive recruiting firms with an eye on expansion, two routes are now being taken: acquisitions and new service offerings tangentially related to their core executive search platforms. Both have been viable options for several top five major search firms, including: Korn FerryRussell Reynolds Associates and Heidrick & Struggles. Of the three, Heidrick’s pinpoint M&A activity might be the most interesting, and viable, as the firm absorbs small and relatively unknown leaders in the C-suite and board recruiting space as well as in culture shaping and people strategy.

In August, the firm acquired Philosophy IB, a leadership consultant based in Florham Park, NJ. The firm was established in 2000 by founding partners Christine Lotze and Kaveh Naficy and today serves Fortune 100 companies focused on assisting clients execute their strategies by changing how people work.

Heidrick also acquired JCA Group this summer, a well-known London-based executive search advisory boutique. JCA Group is led by founding partners Jan Hall and Emma Fallon, and has 40 employees, including eight partners. The firm has been a leader in addressing gender disparity among boards, as a policy advocate and in placing women on boards in both non-executive and executive roles.

“We continue to use M&A as a vehicle to accelerate our strategy of delivering premium leadership advisory solutions and data driven insights to the highest levels of leadership at top organizations globally,” said Heidrick president and CEO Tracy R. Wolstencroft.

The deal for Philosophy IB was Heidrick’s fourth strategic acquisition in less than a year and the third for the firm’s global leadership consulting business. “Heidrick’s chief will undoubtedly continue to use M&A as a means to propel growth,” said Scott A. Scanlon, Hunt Scanlon Media founding chairman and CEO. “These might be small acquisitions, but in their entirety they add up.”

… Not to Be Undone, Boutique Recruiters Join In

Not to be undone, boutique search firms like StraussGroup are also getting in on the action. A number of them have expanded through the acquisition of small, specialized rivals, seemingly taking a page out of Mr. Wolstencroft’s playbook. Here is a look at a few recent ones taken from the Hunt Scanlon archives:

  • Diversified Search just acquired San Francisco-based BioQuest, a recruiting boutique specialist serving healthcare innovators in the life sciences market. Under the terms of the agreement, BioQuest will operate as an independent, wholly-owned subsidiary within Diversified Search. With $37.5 million in annual fees prior to this acquisition, the deal with BioQuest will boost revenues at Diversified Search by about 10 percent and bring the firm’s consultant headcount to nearly 60.
  • Options Group recently acquired Broadstreet Global, a financial services search and strategic consulting firm based in Sydney, Australia. Broadstreet Global specializes in search and consulting for a number of interrelated sectors, including investment banking, capital markets, structured products, alternative asset classes and insurance. Its client base includes some of the world’s largest financial institutions, regional banks, asset managers, insurers and selective boutiques.
  • Focus Search Partners acquired San Francisco-based firm Charlson Partners, which conducts senior executive search assignments for enterprise technology and service companies. Its client base includes some of the largest enterprise technology platforms, as well as some of Silicon Valley’s better known equity-owned and venture capital-backed organizations. Founder Adam Charlson has recruited leaders for a wide variety of companies in the space, including Adobe Systems, Cisco, Cornerstone OnDemand, Convergys, Experian, Google, HP, Informatica, JDA Software, Microsoft, PayPal, Progress Software, Salesforce.com, SAP, and Verint, among others.
  • Odgers Berndtson acquired Charleston Partners, an executive search and talent advisory firm that exclusively recruits HR professionals and advises on human capital management issues. Francis Luisi, founding principal of Charleston Partners, will lead the Odgers Berndtson U.S. HR practice and will work from the firm’s New York and Houston offices.

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

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