June 22, 2018 – Executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder has elected Jill Ader as its new chair. She will take over on Nov. 1 upon the retirement of Damien O’Brien who has chaired the firm since 2010. Ms. Ader becomes the first female chair within the global top five executive search and leadership advisory firms.
“Jill is exceptionally well suited to guide our continued global growth and service innovation while retaining our ‘One Firm’ focus on our clients,” said Mr. O’Brien. “She embodies the generosity of spirit that has underpinned the success of Egon Zehnder combined with the deep trust of our clients to support their leadership journeys.”
Based in London, Ms. Ader is a senior partner and director of the Egon Zehnder’s board. Since joining the firm in 1996, she has held a number of leadership roles including as London office leader and as a member of both the executive committee and the board.
Women in the C-Suite Still Lagging Behind Male Counterparts
The percentage of women in most C-suite positions is dramatically lower than their male counterparts, according to a new report by Korn Ferry. The study examined the percentage of women by title and industry and provides an update to a similar report the firm released last year.
In addition, Ms. Ader founded the firm’s CEO succession practice, and was instrumental in creating Egon Zehnder’s executive breakthrough leadership development program. Before joining Egon Zehnder, her career was in retail, strategy consulting and venture capital.
“I am delighted and honored to have been elected by the partners to lead Egon Zehnder at this exciting time,” Ms. Ader said. “I believe the firm is uniquely placed to advise and support our clients as they face ever more perplexing leadership and succession challenges. Top-level search and leadership development have never been more important.”
Women in Leadership Roles
Egon Zehnder introduced Leaders & Daughters in 2015 to provide a forum for addressing both the gender divide and the opportunity gap faced by the next generation of women leaders. By bringing together highly accomplished leaders and their daughters and mentees, the firm addressed the opportunities, challenges, obstacles and ideals of women leaders – and began to pave a path for positive change.
Related: Why Women Matter In the Talent Game
This year’s theme, ‘Mind the Gap: Why Women Leave – and How to Help Them Stay, ‘ focused on women leaders who leave or are pushed out of their careers as they reach senior executive positions. Women across countries were clear about what motivated them: money. When looking for a job, 57 percent of respondents said a competitive salary matters most. Flexible hours and work schedule came in second, followed by health benefits. Overall, 46 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to accept a higher salary with undefined growth opportunities, versus 38 percent agreeing to the reverse.
Executive Recruiting Is One Sector Where Women Can, and Do, Make a Difference
As recently as the 1970s, it was tough to find women conducting search assignments anywhere. There were pioneers, but they were few and far between. But in the intervening years, women have made inroads in the search profession, big time. Many women, in fact, run offices, command large practice areas, and a growing number own and operate their own recruitment firms. And with the steady rise and assimilation of boutiques, the big picture has changed considerably now for women who serve clients with distinction across the nation and around the world …. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.
Why Recruiting Is an Ideal Career Path for Women
The boards of directors for publicly owned search firms continue to skew toward older males. That hard truth, however, does little to dim the enthusiasm that many in the recruitment profession hold for executive search as a career choice – or their belief in the potential for women to succeed in the field.
Women across the globe face consistent hurdles in the workplace. The top three professional challenges respondents said they experience were broadening their skill-set (32 percent), having sufficient opportunity to showcase their abilities and potential (29 percent) and balancing their personal and professional lives (27 percent).
“Leaders & Daughters continues be a global catalyst for positive change to support professional women at all stages of their careers,” said Rajeev Vasudeva, CEO of Egon Zehnder. “The multiple viewpoints gathered across the globe form a rich perspective to inform how we can pragmatically improve the opportunities and lessen the obstacles for women to succeed. Without the commitment of the world’s top leaders to serve as role models in this journey we won’t accelerate the pace of change.”
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