March 15, 2018 – Executive search firm Cameron Smith & Associates (CSA) has formed an international division with the addition of former Walmart executives Tom Colella and Eduardo Mariscotti.
“My philosophy in business is never stop growing, and what we are doing is expanding on what we are really good at and taking it to a higher level,” said Cameron Smith, founder and president of the Rogers, AR-based firm. “We’re expanding into the C-suite business, which we have done in the past, but now we’ll have two people who will wake up thinking about that every day.”
Mr. Colella was previously vice president of global recruiting responsible for hiring officers in Walmart’s international markets. During his tenure at Walmart, he also led corporate recruiting, heading up recruiting technology and campus relations. Prior to that, he was a senior client partner in Korn Ferry’s Washington, D.C. office for more than 20 years.
Mr. Mariscotti was most recently the general counsel of Walmart Argentina for more than seven years. Previously, he was vice president of human resources for Walmart, where he helped develop Hispanic talent. He also led Walmart’s ethics program across Latin America and the company’s international compliance program around the world. In all of the roles, he worked to recruit, develop and retain a qualified and diverse workforce.
Together, the new executives will help global consumer companies find senior-level executives.
Established in 1994, Cameron Smith & Associates focuses on placing consumer products executives. The search firm also has an outplacement & career coaching practice, to assist companies during layoffs and downsizing, as well as a temporary staffing division.
Retailers are facing major shifts in the workplace, which require transformational CEOs who are innovative leaders with a worldview, say recruiters who specialize in finding consumer/retail sector leadership. According to Herbert Mines Associates, 31 percent of incoming CEOs are, indeed, focused on international expansion as a key strategic priority, making that global mindset a competitive differentiator.
As competition in the field intensifies for leaders of all stripes, consumer/retail CEO turnover is accelerating. In recent years, 47 percent of public retail companies with revenues exceeding $1 billion experienced a chief executive change (up from 34 percent during the previous three years), according to Herbert Mines. Since 2007, 71 percent of consumer/retail companies have experienced a switch in CEO.
“There is significant evolution, innovation and disruption in the consumer and retail markets right now and both are therefore poised as growth sectors for our industry,” said Margaret Gramann, managing director and leader of the consumer and retail practices at executive search firm Harvard Group International. “The consumer experience is at the heart of business success (or decline) – we need to delight them with what they want, what they need and what they (yet) don’t know they want and need. And we need to deliver an integrated experience so they have the agility to engage from home, at stores or mobile.”
Impacted by technology and digital engagement, the change of pace is fierce, she added, which translates into a high need for rigorous internal talent development and often external talent acquisition. “The opportunity in these sectors for executive search to provide insight, talent advisory and best-in-class candidates to clients suggests we’re on track for another strong year,” said Ms. Gramann.
Bulking Up Consumer/Retail Practices
With the high demand for executives within the consumer and retail sectors, search firms have been bulking up their staffs in those areas. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives.
Boyden named Cornelia Tänzler as leader of its global consumer and retail practice. Ms. Tänzler has built a prestigious client portfolio with many C-level and board searches having now been completed. She has specialized expertise in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), global luxury brands, fashion and leading department stores.
Ward Howell International named Sonia Prais as a partner in the firm’s retail, beauty & lifestyle practice group. Ms. Prais brings 20 years of experience in executive search, having worked in the U.S. and across Europe and Asia with clients including Saks Fifth Avenue, Ralph Lauren, Vera Bradley, Topshop and Madura Garments.
Harvard Group International added Margaret Gramann to its search team as a managing director where she will lead the firm’s consumer and retail practices. Ms. Gramann specializes in C-suite and board searches with specific expertise in general management, sales, and marketing roles.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media