Excel Sports Management to Acquire U.K.-Based Nolan Partners

March 1, 2022 – Excel Sports Management, an industry-leading sports agency, has agreed to acquire sports and entertainment executive search firm Nolan Partners. London-based Nolan Partners will continue to be led by chief executive officer Paul Nolan and president Chad Biagini while operating as a new vertical within Excel’s properties division. Primarily focused on senior executive and board level roles, Nolan Partners works on a global basis with clients that range from sports teams, governing bodies, professional leagues, venues, agencies, broadcasters, and other corporate organizations in sports. The firm also has a performance practice that focuses on placing general managers/sporting directors, sports medicine, sports science, and recruitment specialists.

“Nolan Partners is a globally recognized leader in executive placement due to their unmatched track record, industry connectivity and remarkable growth story,” said Jeff Schwartz, founder and president of Excel Sports Management. “At Excel, we strive to be the absolute best at any business we enter and, similarly, Nolan Partners are best-in-class at what they do. We are tremendously excited to help Paul, Chad and the rest of the team at Nolan take their business to the next level within Excel.”

“World class talent is the cornerstone of our business,” said Emilio Collins, partner and chief business officer for Excel. “Given the rapid pace of change and dynamic nature of our industry, never has there been more of a need for top-tier talent. With this acquisition, we will offer yet another premium service to our growing roster of leading league, team and rightsholder clients. We will also leverage Nolan’s 16-year history of operating in Europe to grow Excel’s international footprint.”

Rapid Growth

Nolan Partners has executed VP, C-suite, and board searches in 28 countries on six continents and has been retained for over 100 searches in the last year alone across the major sports leagues in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Asia. Currently, the firm is actively representing clients in Hong Kong, Switzerland, the U.K., U.S., and Canada, among others.

Nolan Partners was founded in 2006 by Mr. Nolan and Emma Thomson and will continue to operate out of its offices in London and Dallas with some staff joining Excel’s New York headquarters.

Greater Ties

The executive search firm has 20 employees, which will bring Excel’s head count to roughly 150. Excel originally retained Nolan Partners last summer to find a new human resources leader, according to sources. Excel is based in New York City and has offices in Los Angeles and Miami. The move overseas is its first venture outside the U.S.

Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters
These have been sobering days for executive recruiting firms around the globe. Most of them, regardless of size, location, or specialization were caught flat-footed by one of the most sweeping economic crises to ever hit the sector this past year. As a result, the nation’s top search consultants have been resetting expectations and, in the process, setting a new course for 2021.

Professional services firms – and executive recruiting outfits in particular – have a long history of finding their way through tough times. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Many search firms have used this time to dust off their own continuity and succession plans, or to reconsider that merger or acquisition which was something of a nuisance when times were flush. Others have taken a hard look at their capitalization strategies. This crisis, like no other, has driven many of the most well-known and respected brands in the recruiting business to reassess everything about their businesses, top to bottom.

Behind the scenes, this has been an active period for executive recruitment firms. To meet their advisory needs, Hunt Scanlon Media last year launched a new set of solutions to assist search firms and talent solutions providers seeking mergers, acquisitions, or funding connections. Founders Scott A. Scanlon and Christopher W. Hunt sit down to discuss Hunt Scanlon Ventures and the state of the executive search industry.

Nolan Partners’ clients range from well-known sporting clubs, governing bodies, professional leagues, venues, agencies, universities, broadcasters, and major corporate organizations involved in sport. Its client portfolio includes Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC, beIN, Chicago Cubs, NBA, NFL, MLB, Washington Football Team, Wimbledon, Mercedes Formula One, PGA Tour, Breeders’ Cup, Los Angeles Clippers, and the British Olympic Association. The firm’s business practice specializes in recruiting senior leaders, including chairs, chief executives, C-suite leaders, and vice presidents. Its performance practice identifies specialist technical/ performance talent, including general managers, technical directors, sporting directors, and functional experts in scouting/ recruitment, sports medicine, nutrition and sports science.

Related: DHR Global Acquires Westmont Search

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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