October 29, 2021 – Executive search firm Focus Search Partners, a Vaco company, has acquired Dallas-based Southerland Group, complementing its existing expertise across the healthcare industry. Southerland Group is a nationally recognized retained executive search firm with specialization in complex integrated delivery systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and payer organizations.
Under the agreement, Southerland Group’s founder Keith Southerland and his team will join Focus Search Partners’ leadership team. Mr. Southerland brings more than three decades of experience leading executive search for healthcare provider organizations to the firm and has conducted more than 1,100 searches for non-profit multi-hospital health systems, professional associations, pediatric health systems, public hospitals, academic medical centers and managed care organizations.
“Throughout my career, I have endeavored to bring the highest level of quality, integrity and customer service to our clients,” Mr. Southerland said. “Joining the Focus Search Partners team allows us to continue delivering unparalleled service to our clients, supported by the broad range of talent solutions and resources available through access to Vaco and its entire family of brands.”
“Through the acquisition, the firm will boast more than 40 tenured consultants,” he said. The firm also has an interim executive services platform that specializes in serving the private equity market and supports organizations needing high-caliber C-suite leaders at pivotal moments.
Paul Frankenberg, founder and managing partner of Focus Search Partners, said Mr. Southerland brings a wealth of experience and an exceptional healthcare legacy to the Focus Search Partners team. “He fits perfectly into our team’s culture, and his clients and candidates speak highly of their experience with Keith and his firm,” said Mr. Frankenberg. “Through this acquisition, we can deliver even more robust service offerings to our clients.”
Prior to founding Southerland Group, Mr. Southerland focused on CEO and C-suite searches for healthcare systems nationwide at Korn Ferry International. He entered the executive search field as a consultant for WittKieffer, helping to establish the firm’s first regional office. During his tenure, he helped expand the firm’s practice across the Southeast, and became executive vice president of consulting for the firm’s search practices, including provider systems, information technology, higher education, and managed care/insurance.
Founded in 2001, Focus Search Partners was acquired by Vaco in 2014 to become the retained executive search division of Vaco, a global talent solutions firm. With 35-plus team members and 13 partners across nine states, Focus Search Partners specializes in building teams to grow companies, focusing on recruiting board members, executives, and senior-level individuals.
Founded in 2002 by Jerry Bostelman, Jay Hollomon and Brian Waller, Brentwood, TN-based Vaco provides boutique-level service with global reach in executive search, consulting, permanent placement and strategic staffing. Its areas of expertise include accounting, finance, technology, healthcare IT, operations, administration and managed services. The firm operates more than 35 offices, with 780-plus employees and 4,300 consultants worldwide.
Data Privacy Solutions
Also this month, Vaco and Nymion, a Montréal-based data privacy firm, launched a strategic partnership to offer premium data privacy solutions to clients, enabling adherence to stringent consumer protection legislation in Montréal and across Québec.
The partnership offers a variety of solutions for data privacy and data security for stronger consumer protection under Québec’s Bill 64, which requires the public and private sectors to modernize personal information and privacy rights – and aligns the province with other Canadian data privacy laws – giving citizens full control of their personal information. Organizations violating this new policy could face fines of up to $25 million.
“Canadian companies are falling behind in data privacy,” said Sean Bartunek, managing partner of Vaco in Montréal. “Vaco’s partnership with Nymion empowers our clients with a robust end-to-end solution that will protect their employee and customer data with the very best talent and technology on the market.”
Under the partnership, Vaco (and Vaco’s consulting firm, MorganFranklin Consulting) and Nymion offer turnkey “cradle-to-compliance” data privacy strategies, technologies and delivery solutions including: compliance assessments and audits, architectural IT designs, and deployments and integrations.
Vaco began its global reach into Canada in 2017 when it acquired Lannick, a Toronto-based premier professional recruiting and consulting firm. In 2019, Vaco launched its Montréal presence, followed in 2020 by its acquisition of Toronto-based Prodigy Bank, one of Canada’s fastest-growing technology talent firms, and the opening of its Vancouver office.
Vaco’s Montréal office provides expertise in the areas of accounting and finance, technology and operations.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media