Caldwell Recruits SVP of HR for Torstar Corporation

May 30, 2019 – Executive recruiters are in hot pursuit of chief human resource officers (CHROs) and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. Why such pent-up demand for top flight HR experts?

Corporate leaders want HR leaders who are sophisticated, proactive and strategic-minded, with strong business savvy to drive their people capabilities like they would a P&L, according to executive recruiters. CEOs in particular want their HR leaders to proactively recommend a host of forward-thinking initiatives that will provide a competitive advantage.

Recently, Elan Pratzer and Kelly Blair of Toronto-headquartered search firm Caldwell placed talent executive Kelly Bird as senior vice president of human resources of Torstar Corp., a broadly-based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Related: Executives Rank Talent Management Among Top Priorities

Ms. Bird is a human resources executive with proven success in operational leadership and track record of driving organizational transformation and growth. She previously served as vice president of people and customer service at WW International (formerly Weight Watchers). Before that, she was VP of HR at HMV Retail, where she was responsible for providing strategic HR leadership through a period of significant organization transformation for the North American business. In addition, Ms. Bird had served as VP of HR at Cogeco Communications, a communications corporation and the eighth largest hybrid fiber coaxial cable operator in North America.

Recruiting HR Leaders in an Evolving Workplace
From people analytics to employer branding, HR departments are evolving at breakneck speed to meet recruitment and retention challenges. No longer is HR about record keeping and rote rule enforcement. Today’s human resource leaders play a critical role improving business performance through employer branding, strategic recruitment and retention, and talent optimization.

Torstar Corp.’s businesses include the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper; six regional daily newspapers in Ontario including the Hamilton Spectator; English-language StarMetro newspapers in several Canadian cities; more than 80 weekly community newspapers in Ontario; flyer distribution services; and digital properties including,,,, a number of regional online sites and eyeReturn Marketing. Torstar also holds a majority interest in VerticalScope, a North American vertically-focused digital media company.

Experienced Recruiters

Mr. Pratzer is managing partner of Caldwell’s real estate practice, and a member of the firm’s financial services, private equity and industrial practices, with particular expertise leading assignments to find transformational C-suite talent. With more than 30 years of business experience and over 25 years in executive search, he advises many of Canada’s leading business executives, entrepreneurs and board members. Recent assignments include: CEO of Home Capital, head of BlackRock Canada, CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald Canada and the CEO of Torstar.

Ms. Blair has been with Caldwell for more than 35 years, and has a record of serving clients that span a broad segment of the Canadian business community. A leader in the CEO and board recruitment space, Ms. Blair focuses on building senior leadership teams for a wide variety of organizations across industry sectors such as financial services, consumer, retail, business services, technology and telecommunications. In addition to recruiting board directors and C-level executives, she has placed senior marketing, sales, finance, information technology, human resources, IT and operating executives.

Related: 7 Critical Competencies to Help HR Leaders Manage Change

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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