November 6, 2019 – The sports and entertainment field is among the most active and fast-growing sectors for executive search businesses, with many C-suite-focused recruiting firms having been drawn to it.
Recently, Cleveland, OH-headquartered executive search firm Action Management Services launched its professional sports franchise division. It will provide executive searches for the NFL, NASCAR, MLB, NHL, NBA, Soccer, Golf, Indy Car, NCAA-Division I sports and MMA.
“I am so honored to see Action Management expand its reach,” said Dale M. Chorba, president of Action Management Services. “This new division is a testament to our continued efforts to form partnerships with key organizations where top talent is a must. My team has remained focused and loyal with more than 100 years of combined professional experience, and I appreciate all of them for their hard work, efforts and results.”
“With this being our 40th anniversary, it’s especially exciting,” said Mr. Chorba. “Over the years, we have changed our business model significantly to evolve with the needs of clients and candidates. Our strong faith and commitment to the profession have enabled us to be where we are today. We’re looking forward to 2020.”
Mr. Chorba established Action Management Services in 1979. As director of human resources for Revco Drug Stores (now CVS), he said, he was inspired to find a way to help businesses improve the personal and professional effectiveness of their human resources. He used his expertise in planning and implementing training and development programs to design a systematic, disciplined methodology for identifying and recruiting talented professionals for corporations.
Mr. Chorba developed client base includes hospitals, HMOs/PPOs, long-term care facilities, physician practices as well as Fortune 500 publicly-held managed care insurance companies. His placement work covers mid-management to executive-level search including CEO, COO and CFO positions.
An Expansive Field
Given the search industry’s knack for finding a need and filling it, it was only natural that recruitment firms would soon step to the fore in the sports sector, which has become a growth area for executive search businesses.
In addition to Action Management Services, they include: Sports Group International, Nolan Partners, SearchWide, Witt/Kieffer, Livingston James, Ventura Partners, SRi, Turnkey, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Grace Blue, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Associates, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Neinas Sports Services and Collegiate Sports Associates.
Here is a glimpse of some search work performed by recruiting firms in the sports sector from the Hunt Scanlon archives:
Russell Reynolds Associates placed David Pemsel as the new CEO of English football’s Premier League. He will begin his role “no later than April 2020,” and replaces Richard Scudamore, who retired last year after 19 years in the league’s top post. Russell Reynolds Associates provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches and players); digital, media and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.
Turnkey Search, a subsidiary of Turnkey Sports & Entertainment, recently placed Juwan Howard as the men’s head basketball coach for the University of Michigan, a plum assignment. He is a former Wolverine All-American and NBA All-Star. Founded in 1996, Turnkey Search is a specialized talent recruitment/executive search firm focused on recruiting C-level, senior-level and mid-management level talent for sports, entertainment and media enterprises. Over the past 20-plus years, Turnkey Search has filled more than 1,000 positions across these three sectors. The search firm helps teams, leagues, stadiums, arenas, theaters, college athletic departments, events, sponsors, agencies, media companies, private equity firms and other clients identify, recruit and hire top management talent.
Chicago-based Hanold Associates has kicked off its search for the National Football League’s next chief human resources officer (CHRO). The front-office opening is a vital one for an organization that is among the top professional sports leagues in the world. It comes at a time in which the NFL faces challenges on virtually every front and demands smart, tough-minded leadership. Jason Hanold, CEO and co-managing partner of the search firm, is leading the assignment. He is joined by his partners Keri Gavin and Katrina Prospero.
Glenn Sugiyama, managing partner and global sports practice leader at DHR International, assisted in the placement of Gary Andersen as head football coach for Utah State. Described by Forbes magazine as “one of the most influential men in college athletics,” Mr. Sugiyama places talent for professional sports organizations and for top academic institutions around the world, including senior sports executives and head coaches. He is considered a human capital expert in the sports industry, and is frequently asked to share his opinions and insights in the media and speak about his experiences internationally.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media