Diversified Search Group

About the Event

No one should be unprepared for a liquidity event, especially executive recruiters. As capital efficient businesses, executive search firms are highly attractive to investors. Talent shortages have created an uplift in demand for people – and every organization is now partnering with recruiters to help keep their talent pipelines full. What’s more, the multi-billion dollar recruiting sector stands at a crossroads, where expansion into diversified sectors is driving an opportunity to develop deeper relationships with clients, and fueling growth. And globalization has created an expansion platform for search firms like we’ve never seen before. 

For investors, it is the perfect storm and an ideal time to invest. Eighteen years ago, Korn Ferry and Heidrick & Struggles tapped the public markets for funding. Today, private equity dollars are flowing to their privately-held boutique rivals. We all see how the senior-level recruiting business has transitioned – and how the current business climate is favoring mid-sized search firms that are big enough to service global clients and expand their solutions, but not yet meaningfully held back by off-limits issues. Those growth opportunities are exactly what an expanding investor base is looking for in 2017.

Join our exclusive network of executive search professionals on May 16 at the prestigious Harvard Club of New York City for a thought-provoking set of presentations and Q&A sessions exploring how search firms can fund their growth and expansion plans, raise capital and prepare to leverage that liquidity for an expansion or exit strategy. Our formal sessions will include a continental breakfast followed by a networking break which will include mid-morning snacks.


What Makes Search Firms a Good Investment

Partner and Equity Research Analyst
William Blair & Co.

Tim McHugh is an equity research analyst with Chicago-based William Blair & Co., a global investment banking and asset management firm. His research coverage focuses on the executive search, consulting, HR technology, information services, and staffing sectors. Tim joined Blair in 2002 and is a partner in the firm. Tim’s role generates frequent dialogue with investors that focus on both publicly-traded and privately-held companies, as well as leaders of executive search firms that are trying to stand out to these investors. In our opening presentation, this leading analyst will provide an up-close look at how investors assess an investment in this sector. His presentation will cover some of the valuation metrics that investors look at, but more importantly, he will discuss the key topics and risks that investors focus on when evaluating investments in this sector. Finally, with those factors in mind, Tim will provide his view on what executive search firms can do to attract capital investment.


What’s Your Search Firm Worth?

DOUG JOHNSON — Managing Director and CEO
CHRIS PIERCE-COOKE — Managing Director Corporate Development
Catapult Growth Partners

Over the past decade, Catapult Growth Partners has helped clients accelerate profitable growth through effective strategy development, practical execution support, and talent acquisition. Catapult has an outstanding track record enabling firms to grow, and position for exit. In this highly insightful presentation, two of the firm’s top partners will explore investment options and discuss how recruiters can prepare their businesses for a liquidity event. Doug Johnson has 25 years of experience developing and executing strategic growth plans within a wide range of professional service firms. His career highlights include strategy and business development leadership at Arthur Andersen and several other top-tier regional consulting firms. He has a strong record of success helping firms achieve and exceed their revenue and profitability goals, both in terms of organic growth as well as growth through mergers and acquisitions. Since founding Catapult Growth Partners in 2004, he has spent the majority of his time working with law, accounting, management consulting and private equity firms. Chris Pierce-Cooke has over 20 years of multinational experience as a business leader, entrepreneur and trusted adviser in publicly traded, private partnership and family-owned businesses. He has particular expertise in evaluating, advising, acquiring and selling professional services firms, with a focus on executive search firms. Chris uses his ‘walked in those shoes’ experience to work on growth strategies with firm owners and leaders, focused on building near and long-term value in their business. At Heidrick & Struggles, he took the lead in the acquisition of multiple professional services firms across the globe, giving him a depth of insight into the factors that are critical to strategic and financial buyers in assessing value and risk. His value lies in bringing together thought leaders, exploring innovation and sharing best practices, and arranging suitable investment and exit strategies for small business owners.


Case Study: One Recruiter Who’s Secured Funding

Chief Executive Officer
ZRG Partners

For more than a decade, steady growth had been a way of life at ZRG Partners. Earnings alone, without taking on debt, carried it a long way as it won more clients, acquired operations, and made inroads into new territories. But as this mid-sized boutique followed its customers around the globe, new challenges inevitably arose. Increased complexity and fixed overhead would alter the dynamics of the firm. Too many executive recruitment firms, Larry and his team knew, have run aground because they were unprepared and lacked the capitalization needed to meet the tests and opportunities that come with explosive growth. That was a mistake that ZRG Partners was determined to avoid. Two years ago, the firm secured funding from Northcreek Mezzanine, a middle-market private equity firm in Cincinnati, to help fuel its continued strategic growth. The first mission was to add extra liquidity to ZRG’s balance sheet. Next, the firm wanted to use its funding to tackle needs and opportunities in the markets. In this phenomenal case study presentation, ZRG’s chief executive takes us through his ‘liquidity event’ and offers up some surprising recommendations for other recruitment sector leaders considering this investment path.


Thank you for your interest in attending our upcoming conference, ‘Funding Growth & Expansion: How Search Firms Can Raise Capital – and Leverage Liquidity,’ to be held on May 16, 2017 at the renowned Harvard Club of New York City. The four-hour event will begin at 8am with continental breakfast, followed by three speakers and a 30-minute networking break. We anticipate well over 100 attendees, but we only have room for 130. To purchase your pass and confirm your registration, please click the button below.

Price is $695