Hanold Associates Places Head of Executive Recruiting at American Airlines 

May 5, 2021 – Partners Sonia Nagra and Ashley Schiele of Chicago-based Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive Search recently assisted American Airlines in the recruitment of Maria-Clara Vasconcellos as head of executive recruiting. “Maria Clara is a vibrant and passionate talent acquisition leader who possesses a fantastic ability to attract best-in-class talent,” said Ms. Nagra. “She will be instrumental in creating an exceptional candidate experience for candidates by leading the first ever in-house executive recruiting function for American Airlines. Maria will have an enduring impact as a trusted advisor to the leadership team.”

“Ms. Vasconcellos comes to American Airlines bringing her fresh perspective and strong executive search expertise which will be crucial in this post-COVID business recovery phase,” said the search firm. Reporting to Jonathan Pierce, director of global talent, she will lead a team that brings together the executive recruitment and talent attraction disciplines to drive consistency and excellence throughout the hiring process. Ms. Vasconcellos most recently served as senior manager of talent acquisition for Louis Vuitton. Before that, she was a human resources manager with GE.

Pre-pandemic, the American Airlines Group, together with its regional partner, American Eagle, offered nearly 6,700 flights daily to 360 destinations in 50 countries. The company had $45.77 billion in revenue in 2019 and is traded as AAL on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange through its parent company, American Airlines Group.

Hanold Associates Picked to Find CHRO for American Airlines

Hanold Associates HR & Diversity Executive Search has been selected to find the next senior vice president, chief human resources officer (CHRO) for American Airlines Group, a plum assignment for the recruiting firm as 2021 kicks off. The mandate is being led by Jason Hanold, CEO and managing partner, and Keri Gavin, partner and global D&I practice sector leader.

“Leading an HR team of 300 people, the new CHRO will have the opportunity to profoundly impact American Airlines today, as well as its cultural flight route forward,” said the search firm in a statement. “The organization’s leaders are seizing the opportunity sparked by challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to build and improve upon existing infrastructure. Throughout the pandemic, American Airlines has worked to support its team members, and the CHRO will develop key relationships with CEO Doug Parker and the rest of the executive leadership team to strategically facilitate the return of furloughed employees.” The role will include at least two direct reports.

Hanold Associates is a boutique executive search firm focused on HR and diversity and inclusion officers. Its client list is diverse across industries, geographies, and business scenarios. Its clients include the National Football League, Zoom, Domino’s Pizza, Under Armour, Patagonia, Gucci, the New York Times, Tom Brady’s TB12, Kohler, REI, Live Nation Entertainment, Dick’s Sporting Goods, McDonald’s, Major League Baseball, Kellogg, Apollo, Big Ten Conference, Blackstone, TPG, L Catterton, Northwestern University, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Electronic Arts, Fiat-Chrysler, SC Johnson, eBay, Moderna, Hillrom, Great Place To Work, Fossil, Vail Resorts, AbbVie, Carnival Corp., Biogen, Allstate, Bridgestone, Wikimedia, ClubCorp, Nike, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Ford Motor Co., among others. 

Veteran HR Consultants

Jason Hanold founded the firm in 2010. Previously, he served as a managing director with Russell Reynolds Associates, where he led the firm’s global human resources officer practice and was a member of the board of directors and CEO practices. Before that he held talent and recruiting positions with Whirlpool, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte and State Farm.

Ms. Schiele, a partner with Hanold Associates, uses her advanced degree in organizational psychology to leverage both organizational dynamics and skill assessment in order to identify and recruit key talent. Ms. Schiele has experience recruiting across industries and functions including, but not limited to, manufacturing, supply chain, engineering, IT, sales and marketing.

Ms. Nagra focuses on recruiting HR talent across various functions and industries. She brings years of diverse experience leveraging her organizational and relationship building skills to help recruit premier HR leaders. Before joining Hanold Associates last year, Ms. Nagra was a senior HR and operations administrator for Axxiome Group, a financial services IT consulting firm based in Europe.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Practice

Last year, Hanold Associates launched a global diversity, equity and inclusion practice and named Keri Gavin as practice leader. As one of the nation’s top C-suite HR leadership providers, the search firm has led dozens of critical chief diversity and inclusion officer searches for clients such Gucci, Live Nation Entertainment, Ford Motor Company, MGM Resorts International, Major League Baseball, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Raymond James, US Foods, AbbVie and Kellogg among others.

“Hanold Associates has always been committed to advocating for and promoting organizational racial literacy, as a pathway towards ensuring better diversity success within their client companies,” said Mr. Hanold. “We will not take on a diversity and inclusion search if the role is more about optics vs. meaningful organizational impact, with true accountability and sufficient resources. We are experiencing a trend where the role of the CHRO is blended with the chief diversity officer.”

Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion within organizations is more than just the right ethical decision, “it is one of the best business decisions a company can make,” said Ms. Gavin. “Our global diversity, equity and inclusion practice will continue to help organizations prioritize DE&I as a business imperative that drives greater competitiveness, innovation and business results.”

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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