July 20, 2020 – Chicago-based executive recruitment firm Comhar Partners has appointed former Chicago Bear defensive tackle Chris Zorich as leader of its newly launched sports management, higher education and non-profit recruiting practice.
“Any Chicago area professional sports fan or Notre Dame alum will recognize Chris from his litany of accomplishments on and off the gridiron,” said Bernard Layton, a co-founder and managing director of the search firm.
“What attracted us to Chris was his passion for collegiate and professional sports management, his uncompromising work ethic, and his commitment to ethics, equality and integrity,” added J. James O’Malley, co-founder and managing director of Comhar Partners.
Mr. Zorich has over 30 years of experience along with in-depth knowledge of the collegiate and professional athletic industry. His expertise in sports administration/management has prepared him for his career in support of collegiate and professional sports. Before joining the search firm, Mr. Zorich was director of intercollegiate athletics at Chicago State University where he oversaw the Division I athletic program. He is also a prominent motivational and public speaker and has been community minded throughout his career having previously founded and operated a not-for-profit.
Mr. Zorich will also bring his knowledge of leadership, team and personal development principles that were honed from his experiences in the National Football League with the Chicago Bears, and as a college athlete playing for the 1988 national champion University of Notre Dame football team to Comhar Partners. “The principles he applies are used by some of the most recognized companies and universities in the world,” the firm said. Mr. Zorich will also help lead the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts, leveraging his firsthand knowledge of race and gender equality, Title IX investigations and implementations.
“I’m excited to join the Comhar Partners team and look forward to enhancing their presence in the sports management, higher education, and non-profit landscape of executive search,” said Mr. Zorich. “My personal and professional experiences in these practice areas combined with Comhar Partners’ wealth of experience in the retained search arena will provide the proper foundation to solve the talent management needs of our clients.”
Comhar Partners, led by former Stanton Chase executives, was formed to focus on providing recruiting solutions in consumer products and services, education and non-profit, financial services, healthcare and life science, industrial, private equity, professional services and technology industries. Besides its Chicago headquarters, the firm has specialized recruiting consultants based in seven offices across the country, including New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, South Florida and Mid-Atlantic, with additional offices to be announced in 2020.
Mr. O’Malley co-founded Comhar Partners with Mr. Layton in October. Mr. O’Malley previously served as managing director of the Chicago office of Stanton Chase. His role centered around senior-level searches for the professional services and financial services practice groups in Chicago. For more than 25 years, Mr. O’Malley has developed talent acquisition solutions to help leadership talent align with changing business needs.
Before Stanton Chase, he was a partner and executive search practice leader at TalentRISE, a recruitment solutions firm in Chicago. Prior to that, he was senior vice president in the human resource function of Fifth Third Bancorp. Mr. O’Malley has also worked for several professional service firms, including Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Huron Consulting and Lante.
Bernard Layton, managing director, has over 30 years of mid-level and senior-level executive search experience within the consumer products, packaged goods and industrial products industries. Previously, he built and led the Chicago office of Stanton Chase. He performed over 2,200 searches spanning a wide range of senior and mid-management positions such as presidents, CEOs, partner, chief information security officer and senior vice presidents across a number of industries, with particular expertise in engineering, information technology/information security, construction, management consulting, consumer products, industrial and financial services.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media