Expanding its Footprint, Wilton & Bain Opens Boston Office

The London-based recruitment and advisory firm launches its third U.S. location. Boston’s professional services, life sciences & healthcare, and technology sectors, along with the area’s academic institutions and wealth of talent, align well with Wilton & Bain’s strengths in the U.S.

October 31, 2019 – Tomorrow, London-based Wilton & Bain takes another big step in its ongoing growth and expansion push, launching a new office in Boston. The location will complement the executive search and leadership advisory firm’s existing U.S. offices in New York and San Francisco, helping to better serve existing clients and providing greater entree to both new business and the talent of a vibrant East Coast market in key areas like professional services, life sciences & healthcare, and technology.

Heading the location with be managing partner Gary Landes, who specializes in professional services across management consulting, technology services and financial advisory. Mr. Landes has a strong record of delivering mandates at the partner and vice president level.

“The U.S. is a critical market for Wilton & Bain, and our new Boston office is part of our continued investment to build the firm, aligned to our customers’ needs,” said David Heron, CEO. “I am also personally delighted for Gary. He is a key individual in our firm, exceptional at what he does, and second to none in his understanding of the global professional services market. His new role, and this new office, creates more opportunity for our people to develop their careers in a ‘borderless environment.’”

Mr. Landes joined Wilton & Bain’s executive search practice in 2007 and has been a partner for seven years. He has completed projects across a range of geographies over the course of his career, including the U.S., Germany, the U.K., Nordics, Netherlands, Middle East and China.

Strong Alignment

Mr. Landes said that a key reason for opening the location in Boston was the city’s strong legacy within the professional services sector, which align so well with Wilton & Bain’s strengths in the U.S. “The plans for Boston in particular will be to scale an office here which is multifunctional in terms of the services it offers and clients it works with, both locally and nationwide across the U.S. We will incubate it out of professional services because obviously that’s my strongest area and indeed that’s Wilton & Bain’s major heritage.”

“Boston has incredible management consulting DNA,” he said. “You’ve got global brands like BCG and Bain, that are both headquartered here. And you’ve got world class academic institutions like Harvard and MIT, which are breeding grounds for consulting talent. In Boston, you feel that you’re right at the center of innovation, of academic development, of high-quality talent and people. For us, it’s a great fit.”

As Wilton & Bain continues to grow its corporate presence across the U.S. under managing partner Lisa Peacock-Edwards, the firm also anticipates Boston being a key hub, particularly for clients in life sciences & healthcare, and technology. “Having Gary on the ground in Boston as we grow out the office and our presence in the U.S. corporate space gives us a great platform to continue our growth within technology and life sciences. The more offices we add to our U.S. portfolio the stronger our hold on the market especially looking at our leadership advisory services business,” said Ms. Peacock-Edwards.

“One of the key things we plan to achieve as a consequence of continuing to grow our professional services practice both in Boston and nationwide is to use that as a springboard into corporate clients going through transformation and change, that may want access to a similar talent pool,” said Mr. Landes.

The office formally opens tomorrow. It is expected to have a total of four employees by early 2020.

A Positive Response

In addition to its success in London, Wilton & Bain has been in full growth and expansion mode in the U.S. The firm opened its San Francisco office in 2015 and its New York location last summer.

The firm’s business has grown considerably over the past five years from 30 to nearly 100 people, and five international offices. Over the next five years, the firm expects to boost headcount by as many as 50 people. It plans to triple U.S. business during that span, increasing the U.S. headcount and bringing in as much net fee income from its America-based operations as it has across Europe.

Finding Transformative Leaders Fueling Growth & Innovation at Wilton & Bain
In the early years after its founding in 2001, London-based Wilton & Bain was content to be a respected, tightly focused professional services executive search firm. With technology as its niche, it was a good business, everyone agreed, and profitable. Yet it was relatively small and geographically limited.

Fast forward 18 years and behold a new picture: Wilton & Bain is making big gains in London and even more in the U.S., where it is in full growth and expansion mode. The firm has already planted its flag in New York (the new office opened last summer) and San Francisco (where it has had a presence since 2014). Here’s more . . . with big plans on the horizon.

Wilton & Bain has already seen a positive response to its coming Boston office from clients as well as potential clients. “A number of large multinational corporations and professional services firms who we have been reaching out to that have a base here are excited about us opening up in Boston,” said Mr. Landes. “I think companies in the professional services space in particular are impressed that we are investing in building a presence on the ground in addition to knowing us as a great executive search firm that is already working across the wider U.S. market.”

Challenges Ahead

Among the challenges for Wilton & Bain in establishing the Boston office, said Mr. Landes, will be surmounting the skepticism that many professional services firms have developed from past dealings with larger and more generalist search firms that unlike Wilton & Bain, lack a specialty delivery engine for the sector.

“The secret to Wilton & Bain’s success in professional services is our deep-sector expertise and network, our excellent delivery teams, and our proactivity and tenacity in delivering searches within this industry,” said Mr. Landes. “So we will continue in the U.S. to build client trust and sponsorship through the delivery of great results and exceptional client experience.”

Another challenge will be to meet the needs of a changing professional services sector, which has seen considerable consolidation in recent years. “Not every professional services company trying to grow is going to do that by just hiring partners or managing directors, for example,” said Mr. Landes. “They may want to go out and acquire small businesses or carve out teams and practices from larger firms.”

“It isn’t just about making a hire,” he said. “There’s a lot of different ways we need to help our clients grow and we will be replicating the portfolio diversification we’ve driven in Europe over here in the U.S. because there’s lots of different ways you can get to that same objective. It’s going to be important to make sure that we are agile and diversified in terms of how we are helping our clients to solve their problems.”

‘One Wilton & Bain’

One powerful incentive that Wilton & Bain brings its American clientele is its strong reputation in Europe and abroad, especially when it comes to professional services. “We have a whole host of entrenched relationships with international professional services firms that we can leverage into U.S. clients because they’re global businesses,” said Mr. Landes.

“Another differentiator is that many U.S. headquartered firms are looking to invest in international growth at the moment,” he said. “They’re doing that by going out and hiring partners and teams or making small acquisitions in new territories. We have one global P&L at Wilton & Bain and are fully integrated across offices, so we are perfectly positioned to support professional services clients with international expansion.”

“Many of our U.S. team have deep relationships with colleagues in Europe and so our clients are harnessing the power of one Wilton & Bain,” said Mr. Landes. “That’s a great differentiator and proposition, especially when you’re an internationally minded firm.”

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

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