Banks Turning to Search Firms

August 19, 2020 – Like all financial institutions, banks continue to turn to executive recruitment firms to find new leaders. McDermott + Bull recently placed Sean Foley as the chief banking officer of Pacific Mercantile Bancorp, the holding company of Pacific Mercantile Bank, a wholly owned banking subsidiary with more than $1.3 billion in assets. The assignment was led by president Brandon Biegenzahn and VP Michelle Davis. Mr. Foley brings 25 years of experience leading commercial lending teams. Pacific Mercantile Bank is a full-service business bank with more than $1.3 billion in assets serving Southern California.

As chair of the financial services practice group, Mr. Biegenzahn is a partner to an array of financial services firms, including investment banks, commercial banks, private banks, credit unions, asset managers, institutional investors and fintech companies. Meanwhile, Kaplan Partners, which specializes in conducting searches for C-level executives primarily in the financial services, corporate financial, private investor and technology sectors, recently placed Carolyn Powell as CHRO for Provident Bank. Ms. Powell have over 25 years of experience in HR and organizational strategy to the bank. Most recently, she served as VP of HR, with Conduent. Provident Bank, a community-oriented financial institution, is the wholly owned subsidiary of Provident Financial Services, Inc., which reported assets of $9.81 billion as of Dec. 31,2019.

Based in Philadelphia, Kaplan Partners specializes in conducting searches for C-level executives primarily in the financial services, corporate financial, private investor and technology sectors. The firm has completed numerous assignments for financial institution CEOs. Alan Kaplan launched Kaplan Partners in 1994 after beginning his corporate banking career with First Pennsylvania Bank and Meritor/PSFS.

Internal or External Choice
In addition, Egon Zehnder assisted HSBC in the selected Noel Quinn as its permanent CEO after the surprising firing of John Flint. Europe’s biggest bank, which has a market value of £127 billion, is understood to have appointed the search outfit after meeting with rivals Spencer Stuart and Russell Reynolds Associates. The board considered internal as well as external candidates. Mr. Quinn has been with HSBC for more than 30 years. His appointment removes one element of uncertainty about Europe’s largest bank as it deals with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Egon Zehnder’s global wholesale and investment banking practice works closely with international and regional banks and advisory firms to address executive hiring needs and support strategic assessment and development of individual leaders and teams. It has more than 45 consultants worldwide who are serving clients in this sector, advising boards, CEOs and executives on industry-specific leadership strategies, and are career advisors to many top professionals in the industry.

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