The Clark Partnership Teams Up With SoftBank On C-Suite Searches

March 15, 2017 – Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet company, SoftBank Corp., has turned to recruiting firm The Clark Partnership to help round out its senior level management team. The search firm is building out SoftBank’s new private equity investment firm, Vision Fund, in London. Co-founder and CEO Simon Clark is spearheading the relationship and search work for SoftBank.

The Clark Partnership recently placed Simon Gregory as SoftBank Vision Fund’s new installed chief compliance officer. Mr. Gregory was previously head of compliance at Elliott Advisors (a subsidiary of Activist Investor Elliott Management). Before that, he served as compliance officer at KKR Private Equity and Ivy Asset Management.

In addition, the Clark Partnership recruited Maria Khan as the Vision Fund’s newly named chief risk officer. Most recently, Ms. Khan was head of risk at Hermes Investment Management. Prior to that, she led operational risk at JPMorgan Chase.

Complex and Critical

“We retained The Clark Partnership on the chief compliance officer and chief risk officer searches for Softbank’s new Vision Fund in London,” said Jonathon Bullock, managing director and chief operating officer of SoftBank. “The complex and critical nature of these two positions meant that we had to quickly hire the best candidates to complete the fund start-up in a compliant manner.” The fund’s size is currently in the range of $100 billion.

He said that Mr. Clark brought top candidates to him and that both assignments were filled within five weeks “from initial brief to offer acceptance, sign and resign,” Mr. Bullock noted. “The trust and confidence Simon installed in us and the quality and speed of execution from beginning to end really differentiated him from other search firms and we are looking forward to continuing working with him and The Clark Partnership as we grow.” The firm is a noted high-end recruiting boutique focused on finding board directors and C-suite & senior leadership.

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The Clark Partnership, in fact, has now been brought in to lead the search for SoftBank Vision Fund’s chief investor relations officer. The incoming IR executive will have ultimate responsibility for owning, building, implementing and managing the active capital management communications strategy for all limited partners (LP) in the SoftBank Vision Fund.

He said the incoming IR chief would lead “with confidence and sophistication” day-to-day investor communications with the Vision Fund’s key investors, including Saudi PIF, Apple, Qualcomm, Foxconn, Larry Ellison’s family office as well as the CEOs of SoftBank’s portfolio companies which include some of the largest global public tech firms and private tech unicorns. SoftBank is therefore seeking someone who has experience dealing with high profile and prestige investors and funds around the world.

Drawing on more than 20 years of executive search experience, Mr. Clark has placed, according to his count, over 1,000 senior executives, including chairmen, non-executive directors, CEOs and their direct reports for publicly traded and private equity-backed tech & clean tech clients. He has, said clients, “consistently hired great leaders” who have created high impact for their employment brands while elevating the candidate experience — something that typically gets neglected during the search process.

CEO Simon Clark, based in Monte-Carlo, Monaco, recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss the advantages of conducting multiple search assignments for singular clients. Following is an excerpt from that one-on-one.


Simon, what are the advantages of recruiting for multiple positions for a singular client account?

There are many but here are just a few. The Clark Partnership gets to know our client intimately and trust gets built and deepens over a long period of time. We get to know the company culture and become specialized in their industry and business. This allows us to become the best external brand ambassador for their employer brand that there is out in the market. We also help to build great culture and great business performance for them.

Why can it be appealing for executives to take on jobs at newly launched divisions like this one at SoftBank? What’s the main attraction?

In this case, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is something “never accomplished before,” which is the first global tech $100 billion private equity investment fund. They are seeking to become the Berkshire Hathaway of the tech sector which in itself is something out of the ordinary. When something has never been done before it comes with challenges, ranging from “ambiguity” through to “the unknown,” which for the right leaders, with the right risk appetite, can be incredibly rewarding to participate in and to challenge themselves in ways that most other opportunities couldn’t. It appeals to some leaders because they learn from others, get to see how others deal with ambiguity, unknown in a start-up manner. It is also addressing a fundamental shift in the technology landscape which is the age of singularity which most other companies aren’t pioneering or addressing and hence they are unable to provide the challenges that SoftBank can with this new fund.

“When something has never been done before it comes with challenges, ranging from “ambiguity” through to “the unknown,” which for the right leaders, with the right risk appetite, can be incredibly rewarding to participate in and to challenge themselves in ways that most other opportunities couldn’t.”

Where else have you built out senior leadership teams like this?

There have been many instances. We have built leadership teams and long-term strategic talent-based relationships for major key clients, including Criteo and AVAYA. At Criteo, The Clark Partnership placed Tom Aurelio as EVP of human resources and Mitch Pulley as the VP of compensation & benefits. At AVAYA, the firm has filled numerous roles, including VP EMEA marketing & president president for Europe.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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