June 27, 2022 – Michael Ensser has been elected chair of Egon Zehnder and assumes the role later this fall. He succeeds Jill Ader, who has chaired the firm since 2018 and will soon transition to an advisory role. “As our next chair, Michael embodies values-driven leadership, putting humanity and empathy at the core of all he does, which is exactly the type of leader we need to continue the firm’s tremendous growth, expanding the reach of our leadership advisory capabilities as organizations face increased complexity and transformative challenges,” said Ms. Ader.
Over his 25 years at Egon Zehnder, Mr. Ensser has played key roles, including leading the German market, the second largest for Egon Zehnder, where he provided leadership advisory services, as well as leading the Switzerland market. Before that, Mr. Ensser led the Berlin office, which under his leadership grew to one of the largest offices in the firm. He currently serves on Egon Zehnder’s board, co-chairing its people committee and is also chair of Germany’s Board Academy, co-created with McKinsey and KPMG, which prepares executives for non-executive board positions. He also helped to launch Egon Zehnder’s second global knowledge center in Budapest.
Mr. Ensser was elected by Egon Zehnder’s partnership, where every partner has an equal vote in the selection of the chair, a legacy from the firm’s eponymous founder, who believed strongly in true partnership and good governance. Elections take place every three years, and chairs can serve for a maximum of two terms.
“I am honored and grateful to our partners for placing their trust in me to lead our firm in this next chapter,” said Mr. Ensser. “Building on our firm’s values, we will continue to grow our firm’s leadership advisory capabilities to better serve our clients, deliver on our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and increase our focus on sustainability.”
Mr. Ensser’s election is part of a planned succession. The chair must be a partner in the firm, and the partnership has a tenure limit of age 62. Following those guidelines, Ms. Ader will retire from the partnership of Egon Zehnder later this year, and she will transition to a senior advisor role, focusing on both client work and helping colleagues to flourish.
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“Jill has been nothing short of outstanding as our chair, helping to crystallize our values, increase our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and amplify our role as leadership advisors and coaches,” said Edilson Camara, CEO of Egon Zehnder. “We are grateful that Jill will be returning to client-focused work, as our world needs great leaders more than ever before.”
Top Global Firm
This spring, Egon Zehnder retained its status as a Top 5 global executive search firm, according to Hunt Scanlon Media. With more than 500 consultants in 68 offices and 40 countries around the globe, Egon Zehnder works with public and private corporations, family-owned enterprises, and non-profit and government agencies to provide board advisory services, CEO and leadership succession planning, executive search and assessment, and leadership development solutions. Since 1964, the firm has been at the forefront of defining top leadership in the face of changing economic conditions as well as major transitions in the executive search field.
“The robust growth posted by our leadership assessment, family business advisory, private equity and board practices last year gave us renewed confidence about the firm’s prospects moving forward,” said Mr. Camara.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media