March 3, 2022 – Diversified Search Group (DSG), a leading search firm backed by private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has acquired Alta Associates, a Flemington, NJ-based search firm founded by Joyce Brocaglia specializing in cybersecurity, IT risk management, and data privacy. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, based in Greenwich, Conn., facilitated the introduction and transaction between both organizations.
“This is a strategic acquisition that will add significantly to our business offering in a key field that touches every client we serve,” said Aileen Alexander, CEO of Diversified Search Group. “Cybersecurity, data privacy, and resiliency are top priorities for boards and senior leadership across every sector of our economy. Joyce Brocaglia has been a pioneer in this field, and we are delighted to welcome Joyce and her talented team who bring a shared sense of purpose along with deep expertise, insights, and knowledge of talent that will be valuable to our clients.”
“Cybersecurity is the biggest threat facing companies today,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Ventures. “But the biggest risk these organizations are now confronting is finding enough talent to put on their front lines of defense. This transaction will help them close that talent gap.”
Ms. Brocaglia, Alta’s founder and CEO, launched the firm in 1986. Since then, Alta Associates has specialized in providing leadership to firms ranging from private equity and venture-backed growth companies to the world’s largest and most complex global corporations. Alta Associates’ experienced and tenured search executives bring a significant level of expertise and knowledge of talent that will broaden Diversified Search Group’s capabilities across industry verticals.
“There could not be a better match between our companies who share a mission for advancing diversity and cultivating new leadership, and fits with our strategic growth goals,” said Judith M. von Seldeneck, the founder and chair of Diversified Search Group. “Joyce Brocaglia is a highly regarded leader in the industry, and I am delighted to welcome Alta Associates to our firm and look forward to joining forces to build upon our successes.”
As a part of the acquisition, the Executive Women’s Forum (EWF), Alta Associates’ professional membership organization, will operate under the banner of Diversified Search Group. Founded in 2002, EWF is a professional membership organization for women in cybersecurity, risk management, and privacy. The organization also partners with the government to increase public-private relationships and with universities to build a more robust pipeline of women leaders.
“EWF offers customized programs to build leaders at every stage of their career and provides them with the skills they need to succeed,” Diversified Search Group said. “EWF has played a role in building leaders, transforming companies, and advocating for increased opportunity, access, and representation in this field.”
Surging Cybersecurity Market
Cybersecurity has never been more important, with breach events that can compromise the trust of customers, shareholders, and board members. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the threat landscape has grown exponentially, driven by the mass acceleration in digitization and interconnectivity, making businesses, institutions, and healthcare providers more vulnerable at every level.
“As companies integrate hybrid work, artificial intelligence, data science, and automation into their business, there is a critical need for experienced leaders who know how to enable resiliency, innovation, and growth while working with boards and c-suite leadership to mitigate risks,” the firm said.
“We are thrilled to join Diversified Search Group and share our deep, trusted network with a firm that shares our mission and commitment to making a difference,” said Ms. Brocaglia. “Alta Associates’ expertise, combined with Diversified Search Group’s stellar reputation and purposefully different approach to cultivating executive talent, creates a powerhouse that will deliver diverse and exceptional leaders in cybersecurity, risk, and transformational technology at a time when it’s needed most.”
Diversified Search Group is a family of recruiting firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago by Ms. von Seldeneck for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. It is today the largest U.S. female-owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry.
Newly Appointed CEO
Diversified Search Group recently appointed Ms. Alexander to chief executive officer, reporting to Ms. von Seldeneck. Ms. Alexander’s accession comes following Dale E. Jones’ recent decision to step down after nine years as CEO. “Aileen Alexander is an innovator,” said Ms. von Seldeneck. “Her exceptional experience and industry insights will contribute significantly not only to our rapidly growing firm, but also to our clients as we cultivate new leadership for a changing world.”
Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters
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 this past year. As a result, the nation’s top search consultants have been resetting expectations and, in the process, setting a new course for 2021.
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 period for executive recruitment firms. To meet their advisory needs, Hunt Scanlon Media last 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 Hunt Scanlon Ventures and the state of the executive search industry.
Ms. Alexander is known as a values-driven, innovative, and people-first leader. She has had a distinct mix of clients spanning large, multinational, and mid-cap corporations, as well as high-growth start-ups across a wide range of industries.
Before joining DSG, Ms. Alexander was a managing partner with Korn Ferry and held positions in the Defense Department and on the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. With a background in international security and defense policy, Ms. Alexander is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, and earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is a military veteran, having served as a captain in the U.S. Army.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media