June 22, 2016 – Executive search firm Elliot Group has entered into a strategic investment agreement with Steve Lockton, executive vice president and owner at the Lockton Companies, a privately held insurance broker and risk management consulting firm.
Under terms of the agreement, Mr. Lockton has made an undisclosed equity investment in Elliot to further advance both firm’s ability to leverage existing business and create new opportunities in the global marketplace.
Elliot Group, headquartered in New York, provides a range of services to the hospitality, foodservice, manufacturing, retail and service sector industries through its three subdivisions: Elliot Associates, an executive search firm; Elliot Executive Consulting, a strategic and operational consulting firm; and Elliot Productions, a creative management firm specializing in events and content development.
As part of the partnership, Lockton Companies will now have access to Elliot’s market intelligence within target sectors where Lockton sees potential for its global risk management, insurance and employee benefits consulting services.
“We’re honored to be partnering with Steve Lockton,” said Alice Elliot, founder and chief executive officer of Elliot Group. “His decision to invest in and collaborate with us is validation of the achievements Elliot has accomplished to date and the vision we have articulated for the firm going forward. We look forward to working closely with Steve to build our industry leading position and accelerate our growth strategy.”
“Today marks an important milestone for both us and Elliot,” said Mr. Lockton. “This partnership will further Lockton’s interests in areas where Elliot has established itself as the dominant industry leader. It is a privilege to collaborate with Alice and the brilliant team at Elliot, and we are excited by the opportunities ahead.”
Founded in 1983, Elliot Group currently has offices in New York, Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco and Atkinson, NH. The firm recently placed David A. Pace as president and CEO of Jamba, a leading outlet for blended fruit drinks with more than 800 smoothie stands throughout the U.S. and in a handful of other countries.
The investment in Elliot Group follows that in another search firm overseas. U.K.-headquartered firm The Up Group has secured investment from mid-market private equity firm Livingbridge as the recruiting firm targets further domestic and international growth. Livingbridge has a strong track record of investing in recruitment businesses, having partnered with firms such as Nigel Frank International, Armstrong Craven and Staffline.
According to Tim McHugh, a partner and global services analyst for Chicago-based William Blair & Co., executive search firms are “capital efficient businesses,” which makes them attractive to investors. He said the search sector also happens to be at a cross-roads where expansion into ancillary sectors, like leadership consulting, is opening up room for growth “and an opportunity to develop more consistent, deeper relationships with clients.” The biggest risk to investors, he said, is appropriately identifying the value of the firm versus the importance of the individuals at the firm.
“We see solid growth opportunities for mid-sized search firms that are big enough to service global clients and expand their solutions, but are not yet meaningfully held back by off-limits issues,” he added.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media