April 3, 2017 – Executive search firm Caldwell Partners International has named Matt Comyns as managing partner of its cybersecurity search practice. He will be based in the firm’s Stamford, Conn office.
Mr. Comyns has a distinct and well-regarded focus on recruiting chief information security officers and next-level-down top lieutenants in information security for large global corporations and fast growing private companies, as well as cyber security consultants for leading professional services firms and top executives for cyber security technology companies.
Mr. Comyns previously co-led Russell Reynolds Associates’ global cybersecurity practice, where he served for nearly six years. Prior to joining the executive search industry, he served as CEO of Pacific Epoch, a consulting firm that specializes in market intelligence and research for U.S.-based companies seeking to invest in and expand into China — until the completion of the firm’s sale. Prior to that, he was a founding partner of BlackInc Ventures, a strategic advisory firm providing clients in the digital media sector with leading outsourced solutions for business, sales, and corporate development.
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Before launching that business in 2004, Mr. Comyns worked with CNET Networks for nearly seven years, holding various positions, including senior vice president and publisher of News.com, vice president of business development, and director of business development at Snap.com. He has also served as a sales manager for Dow Jones Interactive in Asia and as a founding board member of The Online Publishers’ Association.
The Hunt for Cybersecurity Talent
The hunt for seasoned cybersecurity talent has seen a dramatic increase in the last two to three years, according to a special issue of search industry newsletter ESR devoted to cybersecurity. According to the Hunt Scanlon Media report, the need for cybersecurity executives reaches across virtually all industries.
Areas like financial services, defense, and high technology have long focused on cybersecurity. But retail, healthcare, entertainment, utilities, and a host of other sectors have stepped up their efforts and are now seen as bolstering their defenses in the face of security breaches. All of these sectors recognize that information security is the ultimate competitive advantage.
Demand is picking up, according to recruiters who hunt for talent in the space, just as risk and security executives are being elevated to the C-suite – turning security breaches into a C-suite problem. It is this convergence that is the result of what is now seen as a highly visible leadership need as well as a strategic imperative for every company.
High demand and limited talent supply lines are leading to bidding wars throughout the security sector, said Mr. Comyns in an interview in the newsletter last year. “Cybersecurity is transforming from an independent, functional focus to a full-fledged integrated business sector and, with the shift, talent demands have come to exceed the available supply by a widening margin.”
Finding good cybersecurity talent can be the ultimate talent challenge for recruiters, said Mr. Comyns. “There’s simply more demand than the market has been prepared to handle, for senior roles as well as junior positions,” he said. “To further exacerbate the pressures on the human capital pool, companies are requiring these people to do a lot more than they did previously,” he added. “Their roles have expanded tremendously. So not only do we not have enough people doing it, but now we’re asking incoming leaders to do more. To get people who can handle the new role and responsibilities and do that at scale to keep up with demand is very challenging,” he said.
With demand for cybersecurity talent high, supply low, and companies urgently seeking to fill a myriad of positions, compensation is skyrocketing. “I watched one person go from making $200,000 a year to $650,000 in three years,” Mr. Comyns said. Stand-out cyber security leaders can make $1.5 to $2 million a year, he noted.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media