Diversified Search Recruits CFO for Morilee by Madeline Gardner

November 20, 2019 – Chief financial officers continue to be in high demand. Finding them is keeping many of the nation’s top recruitment operations busier than ever. In recent months, search firms of all varieties have placed CFOs at various companies.

Recently, Philadelphia-based Diversified Search placed Richard Watts as the new CFO of Morilee by Madeline Gardner. The assignment was led by James A. Langston, managing director and financial officers practice leader.

Mr. Watts previously served as CFO of Fort Lauderdale, FL-based furniture company Pride Family Brands. Prior to that, he was the CFO of VIP Cinema Seating. He also gained finance experience serving as CFO of Argyle Security. Earlier in his career, Mr. Watts served in controller positions at both GSE Environmental and XServ Inc.

Morilee by Madeline Gardner is a 70-year-old, family-owned-and-operated bridal and special occasion dress company based in New York City. It has a presence in stores in 80 countries. Its mission is “delivering best in class design, offering an expansive range of collections and styles.”

Largest U.S. Female Owned Firm

Diversified Search is the largest U.S. female owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It has additional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Diversified is the U.S. partner of AltoPartners, an international alliance of 58 independent executive search firms that spans 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. In June, Diversified acquired Koya Leadership Partners, one of the nation’s top search firms in non-profit and higher education. This followed the firm receiving backing investment dollars from private equity firm ShoreView Industries.


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Although Mr. Langston’s business has often focused on Fortune 1000 clients, working at the director, VP and C-suite levels, he also works with international early-stage and venture-backed organizations to identify and recruit world-class management talent. His search process is built on his varied and unique business experience. Using a consultative approach, insight and intuition to understand an organization’s dynamics and operating environment, he identifies leadership that is best suited to its particular needs. Mr. Langston has built management teams for both domestic and international clients. He has been retained by such premier global clients as Genworth Financial, IMS Health, Sun Life Financial, Cisco, AmeriHealth Caritas, EMC, Saint Gobain, Ascension Health, Drexel University and Cigna.

Modern Day CFO

A new report by Stanton Chase International found that the role of the CFO continues to evolve at an escalating pace. As the job expands to include more non-traditional financial accountabilities, CFOs recognize they must build new skills to lead.

“With technology increasingly shaping and disrupting corporate strategy and the way organizations operate, CFOs must remain poised for more change ahead, and be prepared to quickly and continuously innovate to keep pace with digital transformation,” Stanton Chase said.

The report found that technology, and the unique opportunities it offers, presents new challenges and demands for CFOs. Among them, CFOs must take on a greater role in attracting, developing and retaining top tech-savvy leadership talent that can leverage new technologies within their organizations, allowing them to focus on developing and driving corporate strategy to remain competitive.

The tide has clearly turned, and the CFO’s focus has irrevocably shifted from “traditional” finance responsibilities to finding ways that finance can add measurable business value. “Technology is both a driver and an enabler of this shift,” the report said.

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

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