February 28, 2022 – Cowen Partners Executive Search has named Sam Torres to lead the firm’s new sports and entertainment recruiting practice, which will focus on the five major U.S. sports leagues: the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. The NCAA D1 Collegiate sports space will also be included, with an emphasis on senior leadership positions, including athletic directors. “We are excited for Sam to launch the sports and entertainment practice at Cowen Partners, as it is clearly his passion and we know the value that Cowen Partners can bring to this market,” said Shawn Cole, president and founding partner.
Mr. Torres will serve as a senior advisor to C-suite leaders and front office administrators in the executive recruitment process while also providing guidance on talent and sports business best practices. Prior to joining Cowen Partners, Mr. Torres had a 14-year career in sports, both at the professional and collegiate level. Torres has led diverse teams, managed various lines of revenue, built naming rights opportunities, helped open a downtown multipurpose stadium, launched a franchise from the ground up, and successfully turned around two NCAA D1 institutions.
According to Hunt Scanlon Media, sports and entertainment are two of the fastest growing business segments for executive recruiters. From athletic directors and coaches to general managers and vice presidents of sales, these high-profile positions are now in increasingly high demand. The sector is expected to accelerate its hiring of a wide variety of functional talent as the global pandemic subsides and consumers return to sports and entertainment venues. “Cowen Partners will be able to leverage years of high-performance corporate expertise in sports and entertainment, putting teams and institutions in a better position for success,” the firm said.
“I am excited to lead the sports and entertainment search practice at Cowen Partners, as I have seen firsthand the value that Cowen Partners provides its business clients,” said Mr. Torres. “The ability to combine my two passions into one driving force will benefit the teams we work with.”
Growing Search Firm
Cowen Partners’ clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million to multi-billion-dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Placements span the entire C-suite and include VP and director level leadership roles. Cowen Partners has placed hundreds of candidates in industries including technology, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, financial services, and private equity.
Cowen Partners recently added Jim O’Leary and Thomas Paik as managing directors. Mr. O’Leary has been an executive recruiter for over 20 years, working with regional, national, and international businesses to find and attract senior executives to build dynamic high impact teams. As a fixture within the Pacific Northwest business community, Mr. O’Leary has partnered with CEOs and boards to build companies ranging from venture-backed start-ups to large publicly traded firms in a broad spectrum of industries including high technology, consumer brands, manufacturing, clean-tech, and professional services, to name a few. His expertise includes conducting searches for all functional disciplines across the enterprise at the CxO/VP and director levels.
Prior to joining Cowen Partners, Mr. Paik was global talent acquisition director for Mercy Corps – an international non-governmental organization focusing on senior level and executive searches. He co-founded the People of Color Affinity group in partnership with the executive team. Prior to Mercy Corps, Mr. Paik recruited for Knowledge Learning, the nation’s largest early learning provider and worked at Nike Inc. for 19 years supporting various business functions inclusive of human resources and diversity and inclusion. At Cowen Partners, he will support executive searches in the areas of human resources, diversity equity and inclusion, and change management.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media