Egon Zehnder Selected by BP to Find New CEO

November 29, 2023 – Leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder has been called in by BP to lead in its for a new CEO, according to Sky News. Its search is expected to encompass external candidates as well as internal candidates, including the interim chief executive Murray Auchincloss. According to Sky insiders, Mr. Auchincloss, who was previously BP’s finance chief, has won broad support from shareholders to land the job on a permanent basis.

Past CEO Bernard Looney resigned after admitting that he had not been “fully transparent” about “historical relationships with colleagues,” according to a statement from the oil giant. “In May 2022, the board received and reviewed allegations, with the support of external legal counsel, relating to Mr. Looney’s conduct in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues. The information came from an anonymous source,” the statement said. During that review, Mr. Looney disclosed “a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO,” but no breach of the company’s code of conduct was found.

BP is a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London. It is one of the oil and gas “supermajors” and one of the world’s largest companies measured by revenues and profits.  It is a vertically integrated company operating in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and extraction, refiningdistribution and marketingpower generation, and trading. BP’s origins date back to the founding of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909.

Egon Zehnder currently ranks 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.

Insider or Outsider?

Recruiters focused on finding talent for the C-suite say that at least half of all job openings are filled by internal candidates before the positions are introduced to the public job market. This may suggest that companies have relatively reliable bench strength even though leadership development is seen as stagnating at many companies. The main reason given: Companies prefer to promote from within.

Related: Egon Zehnder Recruits CEO for Primedia Group

For those searches that go to recruiters, with a clear mandate to look wide and deep both inside and outside a client organization, internal candidates still surface more often and get the job about 80 percent of the time.

Egon Zehnder Recruits CFO for the NFL
After an intensive executive search, leadership advisory firm Egon Zehnder recently assisted in the recruitment of Christine Dorfler as the new chief financial officer of the National Football League. She replaces 31-year league veteran Joe Siclare, who served 11 years as CFO before taking on a more senior title in 2022.

Ms. Dorfler joins the NFL as league and team finances are reaching new heights due to media rights revenue increases, despite continuing concerns over economic headwinds in the tech and media sectors. Mr. Siclare will be expected to guide Ms. Dorfler, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote. According to sources, the NFL will “continue to benefit” from Mr. Siclare’s “extensive institutional knowledge and experience as he continues to play a critical role in providing support and guidance to Christine and the clubs for the foreseeable future.”

Recruiters say clients generally like to be seen as making bold moves but in the end many remain risk averse when it comes to hiring elite executives, especially into their highly protected upper leadership ranks. They look at insiders as safer bets. Knowing this mindset going in, recruiters say they advise their clients that when they have an inside candidate who is 70 percent as strong as an outside choice to hire the insider. Fit and culture seem to be the deciding factor.

“There is a greater risk when you bring somebody in from the outside that it won’t work out,” said Kathleen Yazbak, founder of Boston-based Viewcrest Advisors, a boutique search firm focused on finding leadership talent for mission-driven and high-performing companies, social enterprises, and philanthropies.

Internal candidates know the business model, organization goals, and inside cultures, say recruiters, and oftentimes they have the requisite skills. They know the customers, clients, and co-workers. They have also established relationships with colleagues and their organization’s leaders. But, more importantly, they have already shown their potential. They can, therefore, assimilate faster and will likely be more satisfied in their new roles than outside hires.

Related: Egon Zehnder Recruits CEO for Blue Diamond Growers

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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