July 21, 2023 – Diversified Search Group (DSG), a leading search firm backed by private equity firm ShoreView Industries, has placed Sylvia A. Stein as the new senior vice president and general counsel for Veralto Corp., a company being spun off by Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp. Veralto will be formed from Danaher’s Environmental and Applied Solutions segment, a provider of water quality and product identification solutions. The spinoff is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023. Leading the assignment were Sonya Olds Som, Sandra Goldman, and Denielle Pemberton-Heard.
“Congratulations to Sylvia Stein on her new role as senior vice president and general counsel for Veralto, a Danaher Corp. company that will become a standalone public company by the fourth quarter of 2023,” said Diversified Search Group in an online post. The recruiters “were honored to assist with this important general counsel placement on Veralto’s leadership team.”
Based in Oak Park, IL, Ms. Stein is charged with ensuring compliance and sound governance along with providing counsel to the company’s business leaders.
Previously, Ms. Stein served for more than five years as vice president, general counsel corporate secretary, and chief compliance officer of Modine Manufacturing Co. in Racine, WI. Her duties included leading the global legal team, advising Modine’s executives and business segment leaders, and supporting the board of directors. She was also responsible for the company’s global compliance and intellectual property functions.
Ms. Stein has also served, for nearly two years, as associate general counsel, marketing and regulatory, for the Kraft Heinz Co. in Northfield, IL and chief counsel for Kraft Foods for upwards of 14 years. For more than six years, she was an associate with Latham & Watkins in Chicago.
Established in 1984, Danaher Corp. is a global network of more than 20 operating companies that works to “drive meaningful innovation in some of today’s most dynamic industries through our operating companies in four strategic platforms: life sciences, diagnostics, water quality and product identification.” Danaher’s Environmental and Applied Solutions generated about $4.8 billion in revenue last year.
Family of Recruiting Firms
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. It is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise under industry recognized brands, including Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search.
Inside the High Demand for General Counsel Leaders
The legal and compliance market is booming. The number of in-house lawyers and law firm partners with aspirations of becoming a general counsel is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, landing the position is a challenge. Every search has specific criteria established by the executive leadership team and board which must be met. Some of the criteria could include specific industry experience or business knowledge, a background in public company securities and governance, as well as expertise in regulatory, compliance, litigation, M&A, employment/labor law, intellectual property, government relations, leadership, career track record, law firm training, law school ranking, and the list goes on, according to Robert Barker, co-founder and managing partner of BarkerGilmore, which specializes in building corporate legal and compliance teams.
“Keep in mind cultural fit and soft skills which cannot be found on the resume are equally important,” he said. “And diversity can play a major factor in the CEO and board’s final decision. Most are using the general counsel position as a means of adding diversity to the executive leadership team,” he added. The demand for excellence is understandable as the general counsel plays such a critical role. One wrong answer or move during the interview process can lead to immediate disqualification. “Even after an offer is made, any red flag demonstrating a lack of judgment or ethics discovered during the background investigation will lead to a retraction,” said Mr. Barker.
Ms. Som combines extensive executive search experience in the legal industry with a proven track record of understanding the importance of diversity and inclusive leadership. She leads searches and advises clients in recruiting chief legal officers, general counsels, and other C-Suite and board members with compliance expertise across industries. At the core of her role is conducting executive searches across C-Suite roles and industries as well as conducting diversity and Inclusion consulting for organizations. Prior to joining Diversified Search Group, Ms. Som was an executive search partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Chicago office and a member of the firm’s diversity advisory services practice.
Ms. Goldman is a managing associate in the corporate practice and is a partner in the firm. She has more than 30 years of executive search experience and has been engaged in assignments in the U.S. and globally in the industrial, financial services, technology, life sciences, and manufacturing sectors. Ms. Goldman also serves as a member of the industrial, supply chain, and innovation and transformation practices. She has both an internal and external facing role: She is responsible for managing her team and resources related to search strategy and execution, direct candidate recruitment, and for client engagement. Ms. Goldman joined Diversified Search Group after establishing, growing, and selling a successful business in Philadelphia.
Ms. Pemberton-Heard serves as a global managing director and chief legal officer of Diversified where she directs commercial transactions and manages a portfolio of executive level and legal counsel searches across multiple sectors. She is a member of the executive committee leading the firm. Ms. Pemberton-Heard joined Diversified in 2018 following 15 years as group counsel, programming, and business affairs at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Before PBS, she served as group counsel for Thales Inc., a French-owned communications concern, and as vice president, legal and business affairs at Time Life. She has also held in-house positions at Discovery Communications Inc.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media