Wheless Partners Names Indianapolis Office Leader

April 5, 2017 – Executive search firm Wheless Partners has strengthened its search staff with the addition of former corporate leader Dr. Juan Suarez to lead its Indianapolis office as a senior partner. He will focus on higher education and the industrial sectors. Dr. Suarez brings a unique blend of global experience in marketing and communications, corporate responsibility, information technology and strategic philanthropy. He has served as an advisor to senior leadership teams in the innovation and talent sectors globally.

“We think it makes sense to our clients that executive search consultants should be former executives themselves,” said Rich Grehalva, chief executive officer of Wheless Partners. “In that light, we are honored that Dr. Suarez selected our firm,” he added. He said his extensive experience as a corporate leader in two Fortune 500 companies, his specialized expertise in delicate international transactions, and his leadership role within one of the largest private foundations “will be of great service to the needs of our clients in higher education and in the industrial sectors.”

“In my journey, I have advised many corporate and non-profit executives on how to lead and communicate effectively,” said Dr. Suarez. “It makes sense to embark on this next adventure as a partner with a renowned firm that has proven results in positioning organizations and individuals for success. My goal is to help both thrive, and this is a perfect company to achieve this. I am looking forward to serving our clients and delivering value in the years to come.”


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Dr. Suarez most recently served as vice president of communications and innovation for Lumina Foundation, the largest private foundation with the national goal of raising the percentage of Americans with quality post-secondary credentials. He also served in corporate leadership positions in two global Fortune 500 companies – CEMEX and DuPont. Dr. Suarez has a depth of entrepreneurial experiences, including serving as owner and CEO of two of his own startup companies as well as taking leadership roles in other firms in different capacities.

Finding Academic Leaders

Wheless Partners is a talent advisory firm with professionals in strategy, assessment, executive selection, leadership development, and executive coaching. Since its founding in 1986, it has partnered with global Fortune 500 companies, mid-size enterprises, leading public and private institutions, investment portfolio companies, not-for-profit foundations and smaller entrepreneurial startups across all industries and functions.

In October, the firm added Dr. Robert Witt, University of Alabama System chancellor emeritus, as a senior advisor to its higher education search practice. During his nine years as president of The University of Alabama, Dr. Witt developed the highly successful University Honors College, hired head football coach Nick Saban and dramatically increased enrollment.

Also in October, Wheless Partners merged with Minnesota-based search boutique Chandler Group. Established in 2001, Chandler had practice groups, including healthcare, non-profit, technology, board of directors, that dovetailed nicely with the firm’s offerings.

Wheless Partners is a strategic partner to academic institutions that are public and private, large and small, denominational and non-affiliated. The firm fills chancellor, president, provost, dean, and various faculty member roles.

It was recently tapped by Texas Tech University to lead its search for a new provost. Past provost Lawrence Schovanec left the post to become the 17th president of the university. Mike (JR) Wheless is leading the assignment.

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

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