November 8, 2018 – Executive recruiters are in hot pursuit of chief human resources officers and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. The best HR chiefs are seen as integral strategic advisors to the C-suite, and the ones in demand are those who are sounding boards for CEOs, report recruiters focused on the space. Why is there such pent-up demand for top flight HR experts?
According to search consultants, corporate leaders are hiring more like-minded sophisticated, proactive, and strategic HR individuals with strong business savvy to drive their people capabilities just as they would a P&L.
Recruiting such talent continues to be of vital importance for companies. One recruiter, Chicago-based Hanold Associates, has been retained by Under Armour to help find its next CHRO. Jason Hanold, CEO and co-managing partner of the search firm, is leading the assignment along with partners Katie Wolf and Katrina Prospero.
“This is a critical transformational leadership role, partnering directly with founder and CEO Kevin Plank,” said Mr. Hanold. “It requires deep operational and build capability from a fearless, fast-moving and high-energy current-sitting CHRO, COO or divisional CEO.”
Key Partner to the CEO
The CHRO will partner with and report to Mr. Plank. Based in Baltimore, the incoming HR chief will be responsible for all facets of the company’s people operation and human resources capabilities and will be a critical member of its executive leadership team. The individual is expected to meaningfully contribute to the strategy, competitive advantage, execution and risk management of the company. “The CHRO will be a key partner to the CEO in maintaining and enhancing a strong culture based on company mission, vision and core values in anticipating and solving talent-related challenges and in leading a significant HR organization,” Mr. Hanold said.
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Under Armour wants a pragmatic, business-oriented leader and strategic partner who demonstrates high intellect and strong business acumen in consumer-centric organizations. “This person may not be a traditional HR officer,” the search firm said. “They should have financial analytic capabilities and perspectives on the business beyond people.”
The right candidate will have proven ability to work in a fast-paced environment with multiple priorities which require strong project management and decision-making capabilities. In addition, the new CHRO should be a non-political, yet organizationally astute team player who can quickly find a place as a valued member of the business leadership team.
The 5 Essential Attributes of a 21st Century CHRO
The role of the chief human resources officer is changing again. Over the years, the best CHROs became much more focused on the business and its strategic needs. Today, however, the needs of the business have evolved — and with it so have the demands on the CHRO.
The right candidate will bring more than 20 years of operating, financial and people leadership experience in consumer-centric, well-branded organizations. Prospects should have experience leading large centralized and remote teams in a corporate environment.
Under Armour manufactures footwear, sports, and casual apparel. Under Armour’s global headquarters is in Baltimor, with additional offices in Amsterdam (European headquarters), Austin, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, London, Mexico City, Munich, New York City, Panama City (international headquarters), Paris, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Francisco, São Paulo, Santiago, Seoul, Shanghai (Greater Chinese headquarters)and Toronto.
Under Armour was founded in 1996 by Mr. Plank, a then 23-year-old former special teams captain of the University of Maryland football team. Mr. Plank initially began the business from his grandmother’s basement in Washington, D.C. He spent his time traveling up and down the East Coast with nothing but apparel in the trunk of his car. His first team sale, for $17,000, came at the end of 1996. Today, with more than 22 years of providing athletes with performance apparel, footwear and digital solutions, Mr. Plank now oversees a global company of 14,000 employees with total revenues of $5 billion.
Hanold Associates is a boutique search firm specializing in HR officer assignments. Mr. Hanold founded the firm in 2010. He serves a client roster that includes Patagonia, Nike, eBay, Cummins, Kohler, REI, Google, Riddell, Fossil, Carnival Corporation, the UFC, Blue Apron, Amazon, Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, Vail Resorts, Abbott, Biogen, Great Place to Work, Electronic Arts, Godiva, Fiat-Chrysler, Bridgestone, Northwestern University, Heinz, Warburg Pincus, Medtronic, Zurich, Wikipedia, T. Rowe Price and SC Johnson, among others.
DHR Recruits Chief Marketing Officer for Under Armour
Executive search firm DHR International has recruited Andy Donkin as chief marketing officer of Under Armour. Carlos Cata, a DHR managing partner in charge of the firm’s global CMO practice, and retail and consumer sector managing partner Frank Spencer, along with partner Julie Eakers, led the search.
Mr. Hanold had previously served as a managing director with Russell Reynolds Associates, where he was the leader the firm’s global human resources officer practice and was a member of the board of directors and CEO practices.
Ms. Wolf, one of the recruiters involved, focuses on the recruitment of HR professionals across industries, including learning and development, talent management, HRBP, total rewards, talent acquisition, organizational development and diversity and inclusion. Previously, she was a talent acquisition consultant for Grainger overseeing all human resources searches for the organization. In this role, she was a full life-cycle recruiter, identifying diverse talent for corporate, international and field locations.
Ms. Prospero focuses on the recruitment of human resource professionals across industries, including learning and development, talent management, HRBP, total rewards, talent acquisition, organizational development and diversity and inclusion. Prior to joining Hanold Associates, she was as an executive recruiter for Ajilon Professional Staffing. At Ajilon, she also focused on the recruitment of human resource professionals.
CHRO Recruiting in the News
WinterWyman Executive Search placed Marc Reuss as the new CHRO at Excelitas Technologies. SVP and partner Beverly Morgan led the assignment. Mr. Reuss is a veteran HR executive with a track record of building and leading world class organizations across aerospace, financial services, high technology, medical devices, vaccines and genetics sectors.
Christine Sobhani and Priscila Bonilla of executive search firm Allegis Partners recently helped recruit Darla Haas as CHRO at PAR Technology Corp. in New Hartford, NY. “Darla is a proactive, high energy, pragmatic and hands-on business leader who is experienced at leading organizational transformation in a diverse, global business,” said Ms. Sobhani.
Human Capital Consultants placed John W. Sigmon as the new CHRO of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. The Washington, D.C.-based firm completed the search in less than two months. Mr. Sigmon joined HJF from AARP, where he rose from senior HR business partner to VP, group human resources consulting services, and then to SVP and CHRO.
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