December 7, 2020 – Brookfield, WI-based Cielo, a strategic recruitment process outsourcing firm, has acquired Talent Function to strengthen its market leadership and expand its service offerings. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition formalizes the strategic partnership between Cielo and Talent Function that was announced in October.
“Talent Function boasts impressive capabilities and expertise in consulting,” said Sue Marks, founder and CEO of Cielo. “We’re excited to have them join our team to further enhance our practices. Our clients, and the market, are looking for more support in creating and delivering on their TA transformation vision. This strategic acquisition is one of the ways we will keep empowering our forward-leaning HR and talent acquisition partners.”
Elaine Orler, CEO and founder of San Diego, CA-based Talent Function, has helped global companies transform their recruiting organizations with actionable strategies and technology implementations since 1993. She is also the co-founder of Talent Board, the organization which leads the CandE award program. Ms. Orler will assume the role of senior vice president – technology consulting at Cielo. She will collaborate with Cielo’s technology team to help craft the organization’s digitization and this vision will shape the path of RPO and talent acquisition.
“We admire Cielo’s business success and their passion for meaningful client partnerships,” said Ms. Orler. “The synergy between the organizations establishes a path to continue to elevate talent acquisition strategies and recruiting efforts globally.”
The acquisition reinforces Cielo’s investment in innovation to ensure clients stay ahead of the curve, the company said. “To retain our position as the leading RPO provider, we know we need to continually invest and grow our capabilities in the consulting space,” said Marissa Geist, COO of Cielo. “This is an important way to add value for our clients and help them achieve their talent acquisition vision and business goals in this dynamic environment.”
“This is an important acquisition for Cielo as it allows the firm to strengthen its market leadership position while expanding an already solid platform of service offerings,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Greenwich, Conn-based Hunt Scanlon Media. “With Talent Function, Cielo will go deeper into assisting its clients with comprehensive talent strategies and tech solutions to deliver return on investment and improved business performance.”
According to Hunt Scanlon, more merger and acquisition activity is expected across the RPO space in 2021. “The transferal of permanent recruitment solutions to external providers has been accelerating,” said Mr. Scanlon. “RPO providers have proven to be essential extensions of a company’s HR or resourcing function, and for talent solutions providers and executive search firms this is a big opportunity to provide clients with a more significant and much needed holistic hiring solution.”
In March, Cielo acquired AsiaNet China, an RPO, executive search, recruitment and payroll (HRO) business based in Shanghai. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “There’s major demand for RPO in the China market,” said Sue Marks, founder and CEO of Cielo. “This acquisition builds on our existing capability in China to better serve our regional and global customers. We’re also excited about the skills and capabilities of our new team members. We’ve worked closely with AsiaNet China since 2018, and we have great respect for their business, their leadership and their reputation for delivering positive results for their clients.”
Make no mistake, these have been sobering days for executive recruiting firms around the globe. Most of them, regardless of size, location, or specialization were caught flat-footed by one of the most sweeping economic crises to ever hit the sector. As a result, the nation’s top search consultants have been resetting expectations throughout 2020 – and, in the process, setting a new course as 2021 looms.
Professional services firms – and executive recruiting outfits in particular – have a long history of finding their way through tough times. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Many search firms have used this time to dust off their own continuity and succession plans, or to reconsider that merger or acquisition which was something of a nuisance when times were flush. Others have taken a hard look at their capitalization strategies. This crisis, like no other, has driven many of the most well-known and respected brands in the recruiting business to reassess everything about their businesses, top to bottom.
Behind the scenes, this has been an active year for executive recruitment firms. To meet their advisory needs, Hunt Scanlon Media earlier this year launched a new set of solutions to assist search firms and talent solutions providers seeking mergers, acquisitions, or funding connections. Founders Scott A. Scanlon and Christopher W. Hunt sit down to discuss the new venture and the state of the industry.
AsiaNet China was founded by Daniel Liu in early 2000 and has offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Hong Kong. The business serves customers across a range of industries including engineering, advanced manufacturing, life sciences, supply chain, infrastructure, construction and properties, automotive and technology. AsiaNet China and Cielo currently partner to provide in-country support to various Cielo clients.
The acquisition of AsiaNet China gives Cielo a significant foothold in China, with the addition of three offices in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities. The two companies will combine their Hong Kong operations into one office. The new presence and local capability enable Cielo to respond to growing demand for its RPO services in the country, benefiting existing Cielo clients and better positioning the company to win global customers.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media