March 10, 2021 – Top experts in talent management and C-suite recruitment agree that interim leaders will likely play a significant and growing role in top grading senior-level positions in a post-pandemic era, where costs and efficiency underpin executive hiring. Houston, TX-based search firm Allen Austin recently unveiled a new push into the sector by establishing a dedicated interim leadership practice and appointed Ari Cretu as its managing partner. In his new role, Mr. Cretu’s responsibilities will include client management, engagement delivery and overall execution of services. He will also serve as a member of Allen Austin’s leadership team, assisting in the strategic direction and tactical plans of the firm.
“While getting to know Ari over the last several months, it’s clear that he is not only an exceptional consultant and leader, but he also shares a commitment to our mission, vision and values,” said Darcie Murray, the firm’s senior managing partner. “We are extremely excited to have him on our team, and for the opportunity to add another service offering for our clients. Our purpose and passion at Allen Austin centers around helping companies build cultures of peak performance and adding an interim leadership practice is another avenue through which we aim to be long-term partners and advisors for our clients.” Mr. Cretu said that he was drawn to Allen Austin by its commitment to culture, disciplined approach to client service and proven methods of success. “Allen Austin has an aggressive growth strategy planned for the next five years, and I’m honored to be a part of that growth trajectory through building the interim practice,” he said. “It’s an exciting time to join the team, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.”
Mr. Cretu brings upwards of 15 years of experience providing advisory services and interim leadership to start-ups, private equity-backed entities and publicly traded enterprises. He has built a strong track record of assisting companies in identifying critical business issues and driving revenue growth across multiple service offerings, industries and geographical markets. He prides himself on building longstanding partnerships with investors, owner-operators, management and boards to deliver value to the organization.
Allen Austin’s interim leadership practice consists of senior-level professionals and proven executives who provide a roadmap to measurably improve business performance, said the firm. Its mix of management advisors and subject matter experts range from across the organizational chart, including: executive management and administration, production and operations, finance and accounting, sales and marketing, human resources and information technology.
The practice’s functional areas for interim and fractional executives include: chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief human resources officer, chief remote officer, chief information officer, chief restructuring officer, VP of business development, VP of logistics, interim controller and director of supply chain. The practice’s project consulting leadership includes: program manager, compensation expert, organizational development, change management, ERP implementation, digital marketing strategy, process optimization, inventory control and plant consolidation.
Why Interim HR Leaders Are in Growing Demand
Interim professionals bring niche skillsets, expertise and leadership capabilities required to drive change, says a new report by Lucy Bielby of Frazier Jones. Interim human resource leaders, in particular, have subject matter expertise, general business knowledge and an external perspective that can help organizations achieve a fast turnaround, realize rapid results, and drive a business forward. Because as we all know, it always comes down to people.
Allen Austin, parent company to Gaines International, is a top 40 global management consulting firm specializing in executive search and leadership advisory services. Founded in 1996, the firm partners with boards, CEOs and senior leaders of companies small and large, public, and private, family-owned, private equity, venture-backed, domestic, and international. Allen Austin has more than 30 partners managing client engagements from offices in 20 cities in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
Earlier this year, Allen Austin released a new service offering: executive mentorship. The service connects talented new executives with qualified external mentors, providing a confidential space for learning and development. “We practice search as a specialized form of management consulting and are known for helping clients get clear about exactly what they are trying to accomplish and who and what they need to get there,” said Danielle Mairs, managing partner of leadership advisory at Allen Austin. “We want candidates and clients to be happy together for many years to come. We match new hires with mentors who have been in their shoes, who know what it takes to succeed. It’s an investment in talent for the long term.”
Allen Austin, in partnership with Executive Springboard, engages a diverse group of more than 80 mentors, representing 15 functional areas, 10 countries and decades of experience in Fortune 1000 companies. Each mentor has a minimum of six years of experience as a senior officer and a long history of service as an internal mentor.
In Allen Austin’s program, mentorship is confidential. Mentees, not mentors, report on their progress. This lets employers understand the return they get on their investment. It also leaves mentees free to ask questions they may otherwise avoid, receiving expert advice from an impartial perspective. Mentorship programs are available at both the vice president and C-suite levels, and it is offered either as an add-on service to a search engagement or as a standalone service.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media