DHR International Strengthens Retail and Fashion Practice in Dubai

January 11, 2019 – Chicago-based search firm DHR International has continued its recent expansion with the addition of Cassie Owen as a partner in its Dubai office. She has retail and fashion recruitment expertise across all disciplines from board and C-level appointments to core retail operations, buying & merchandising, PR & marketing, design, e-commerce and supply chain.

With a devotion to international retail, specifically in the Middle East, Ms. Owen continues to develop relationships based on trust and integrity, said Ayman Haddad, managing partner for Middle East and Africa. “Cassie is a great addition to our team,” he said. “With her consultative approach and deep knowledge of the retail & consumer industry, she will add tremendous value to our clients and help us develop this sector across the Middle East region.”

Ms. Owen most recently served as head of fashion, retail & digital luxury for Mackenzie Jones Middle East, working with global luxury groups, franchised retailers, family groups and private equity clients. She began her career in corporate hospitality managing premiere events at the Royal Ascot, Grand Prix and Henley Royal Regatta in the U.K. After a few years, she moved into recruitment, providing temporary staffing solutions and forging key relationships with luxury retailers such as Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Selfridges in the U.K.

Next, Ms. Owen joined CVInternational, a boutique recruitment agency in the U.K., where she was responsible for developing the firm’s international division with a specific focus on retailing in the Middle East. She and her team won Corporate Vision Magazine’s award for “Best in Fashion & Retail Recruitment for International Markets” for 2015. More recently, she was awarded the Women in Business Scholarship by Hult International Business School.

Other Recent Additions

In October, DHR added Daniel Hall as managing partner in London. Mr. Hall focuses on the executive recruitment and assessment of industrial and consumer professionals. His hiring affirms DHR’s commitment to rebuilding its London presence, said the search firm. Most recently, Mr. Hall was co-founder and managing partner at Excelion Partners International, working in the firm’s London and New York offices.

The search firm also recently announced that it had brought aboard Edward Merhige as a partner in its financial services practice group. He specializes in global banking, markets and private equity.

Mr. Merhige has more than 20 years of experience recruiting financial services professionals, completing hundreds of searches at all levels, industry coverage and product areas within investment banking. His clients range from bulge bracket and global investment banks to boutiques and regional firms across all geographies. Most recently, Mr. Merhige was managing director at D.S. Wolf Group International, a retained executive search boutique in New York, where he spearheaded searches primarily in investment banking and private equity.


Leadership Crisis Unfolding at Private Equity Firms
According to a coming research report from Hunt Scanlon Media, the private equity sector can expect to see an expanding bidding war for top talent. Driving the trend: persistent global talent shortages across the C-suite. Nearly every industry and function is affected, including finance, healthcare and biotech, digital and technology, among others.

“Leadership is the new bottom line for private equity operating executives seeking top talent for their portfolio businesses,” said Scott A. Scanlon, the firm’s founding chairman and CEO. “The PE sector is in the crosshairs of a widening war for leadership.”


DHR also added Mateja Forstnaric as a partner working throughout the firm’s Vienna, Frankfurt and Amsterdam offices. Ms. Forstnaric, who has more than 10 years of executive search experience, focuses on senior-executive search and board assignments throughout Europe.

Ms. Forstnaric specializes in recruiting for positions into life sciences, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices, medtech, diagnostics, consumer healthcare and e-health companies and start-ups. This includes both international and local searches and across the full functional range.

Top Recruiters

Ms. Forstnaric previously worked for both life science boutiques and large international executive search and talent management companies. These include: the RSA Group, Odgers Berndtson and Heidrick & Struggles. Throughout her career, she has worked internationally, regionally and locally. She has had a particular focus on Europe and emerging markets, where she conducted numerous executive search talent development and leadership advisory assignments.

DHR also recently announced that it had named Christopher J. Knipp as managing partner in Dallas. He joins the firm’s HR practice, leveraging more than 30 years of experience across the energy, industrial, consumer and healthcare sectors.

Prior to DHR, Mr. Knipp served as partner and head of the human resources practice at Acertitude. Prior to that, he was chief human resources officer (CHRO) for AccentCare, a post-acute care organization providing the full spectrum of home health, therapy, hospice and personal care services. Mr. Knipp spent more than 30 years as a human resources executive, building best-in-class HR functions, shaping high-performing cultures and leading organizational transformations for a variety of blue-chip companies, from the top of the Fortune list to private-equity funded high-growth and turnaround organizations, said DHR International.

Since 1989, DHR International has been a leading, privately held provider of executive search solutions with more than 50 wholly-owned offices spanning the globe. DHR’s consultants specialize in all industries and functions, providing senior-level executive search, management assessment and succession planning services tailored to the qualities and specifications of its client base.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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