Heidrick & Struggles Taps Outsider as CEO; Other Leadership Moves Announced

The Chicago-based firm announces succession plan hiring outside technology veteran to succeed its long-time CEO as the Heidrick sets its eyes on the future. “Tom Monahan's decades of experience in growing technology-enabled services firms focused on delivering C-suite advice makes him the right person to build on our strengths in leadership advisory and to unlock transformative growth,” the firm says. Lets look at the recent leadership changes at this top five search firm.

January 24, 2024 – Executive search, leadership consulting, and culture shaping services provider Heidrick & Struggles has announced that president and CEO Krishnan Rajagopalan has decided to retire, after more than 23 years with the firm. Following a planned succession process, the board has appointed Thomas L. Monahan to succeed Mr. Rajagopalan as CEO and member of the board, effective March 4. Mr. Monahan currently serves as managing partner of Norton Street Holdings and was previously president and CEO of DeVry University. Mr. Rajagopalan will step down, effective March 4, 2024, and will retire from the firm as of April 1, 2024, after which he will continue to serve as an advisor. “Search firms are highly focused on trying to leverage data, innovative technology, analytics, and IT to not only lift their client’s performance, but also their own,” said Scott Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media. “Bringing in this outsider at this time makes a whole lot of sense.”

“The board of directors, including Krishnan, have thoughtfully and deliberately developed this succession plan, and we are confident these leadership announcements position Heidrick & Struggles for continued success well into the future,” said Adam Warby, chairman of the board of Heidrick & Struggles. “Tom Monahan is a proven and innovative executive with a deep passion for the leadership arena and a unique view into what matters – and what works – when driving corporate performance. Tom’s decades of experience in growing technology-enabled services firms focused on delivering C-suite advice makes him the right person to build on our strengths in leadership advisory and to unlock transformative growth through our strategy of innovative diversification. I am confident that Tom is the right person to succeed Krishnan as CEO.”

Mr. Monahan has been an innovator in technology-enabled services businesses for more than three decades. He currently serves as the managing partner of Norton Street Holdings, a private investment vehicle that engages with organizations that leverage intellectual property, data, and technology. Previously, Mr. Monahan was president and CEO of DeVry University, where he guided the university to digital innovation, sustained growth, student success metrics, and financial strength as a newly independent institution. Before joining DeVry in 2020, he spent more than two decades building and leading innovative technology, data, and services companies, including serving as executive chairman of Carlyle-backed digital engineering innovator ProKarma and on multiple public and private boards. Mr. Monahan was previously chairman and CEO of CEB, a C-suite advisory company that equips leaders of global organizations with insights, tools and actionable solutions to transform enterprise performance. Under his leadership, CEB grew to nearly $1 billion in revenue and $3 billion in enterprise value, serving more than 10,000 companies globally, including 90 percent of the Fortune 500.

“Anyone who knows me, understands that I am passionate about the work of finding, developing, and supporting great leaders,” said Mr. Monahan. “Heidrick & Struggles has shaped the leadership advisory industry for decades. As a longtime client, I can see endless possibilities to extend our strength in search, which will continue to be the cornerstone of our strategy, and leverage our diverse assets — including our On-Demand, Consulting and Digital solutions — to deliver value for our clients and our shareholders, and I look forward to leading the company’s talented team as we help clients put the right leadership teams and strategies in place to change the world.”

New President

Heidrick also announced that Tom Murray, global managing partner of Executive Search, will become president, reporting to Mr. Monahan, effective March 4. In addition to continuing to lead Executive Search, he will have operational responsibility for On-Demand Talent, Heidrick Consulting and Go-to-Market in his new role.

Based in Heidrick’ Boston office, Mr. Murray is a member of the global management committee and is responsible for leading the firm’s global executive search business and client operations. Previously, he was the global managing partner of the global technology & services practice. Prior to joining Heidrick, Mr. Murray was chief talent officer and SVP of global human resources for Dell, focused on succession planning, talent acquisition, learning & development, talent management and human resources for global sales & marketing. Prior to that, he was chief talent officer for EMC, which merged with Dell in 2016 making it the world’s largest privately controlled tech company at the time.

Related: Heidrick & Struggles and Eightfold AI Form Alliance

“We are fortunate to benefit from Tom Murray’s expertise as he assumes the role of president,” said Mr. Warby. “His equally deep passion for leadership, success in leading our executive search business and deep understanding of our firm and the needs of this enormous market will ensure seamless execution and a strong sense of culture as we navigate this transition and grow in size and impact. As we embark on this transition, I believe Heidrick & Struggles is well-positioned to continue delivering value to shareholders and clients as a leader in next generation talent advisory solutions throughout the world.”

Heidrick & Struggles Appoints Leader of Israeli Office
Heidrick & Struggles has named Cheli Nachman as partner in charge of its Tel Aviv, Israel office. She also becomes a partner in the technology practice. “Cheli is highly regarded both as a super-dedicated recruitment consultant and trusted advisor,” said Claire Skinner, regional leader, Europe and Africa. “She will provide clients with access to talent and leadership at a time when they seek creative, nimble, and high-performing talent to achieve their strategic business objectives.” Ms. Nachman specializes in cybersecurity, data and analytics, artificial intelligence, enterprise software, industrial technology, and financial technology executive search work. She also has experience working closely with clients at venture capital and private equity firms.

“I am grateful to have worked closely with Krishnan and the Heidrick & Struggles team over the past six years as we have built the company with integrity, compassion and professionalism,” Mr. Murray said. “At Heidrick & Struggles, our biggest asset is the amazing people we have across the globe. It is a privilege to be in an expanded role and working deeper with our incredible teams to synchronize going to market as one firm. I’m excited to work with Tom to execute on our strategy to provide broad, comprehensive solutions that enable our clients to meet the talent and human capital challenges at the executive level.”

“Leading Heidrick & Struggles has been a privilege, and I want to thank the global team for their support on this journey,” said Mr. Rajagopalan. “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved, how we have transformed the business through the diversification of our offerings, the impact we have had on clients, the growth and expanded diversity of our team, and the culture that we have built. I am confident that Tom and Tom will lead Heidrick & Struggles to its next chapter of growth and client impact.”

Recent Appointments

Heidrick started the year by announcing a series of global and regional leader appointmentsKristin Deutmeyer has been named as global head of the marketing, sales & strategy officers practice. She is a partner in Heidrick’s Chicago office and is also co-head of the digital officers practice and a member of the global consumer markets and CEO & board of directors practices. Before joining the firm, Ms. Deutmeyer spent more than a decade as a public relations consultant.

Sachi Vora has been appointed co-head of the global financial officers. She is a partner in Heidrick’s New York office and a member of the consumer markets, CEO & board of directors, and financial officers practices. Ms. Vora focuses on assisting companies with board, CEO and CFO placements for leading publicly-traded, private equity and venture capital-backed companies.

Related: Heidrick & Struggles to Acquire London-based businessfourzero

Alyse Bodine becomes co-head of the global financial officers. She is a partner in Heidrick’s Philadelphia office and is also regional managing partner of the corporate officers practice in the Americas. Her search experience includes corporate CFO and other senior-level financial officer assignments as well as board of director engagements. Ms. Bodine works with a diverse client base, including Fortune 500, small- and medium-sized public and private companies, as well as PE- and venture-backed companies across a range of industries.

Brad Warga has been named co-head of the global human resources officers practice. He is a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. Warga specializes in senior-level leadership advisory assignments within private equity, venture capital, family offices, financial services, and global technology companies, placing HR officers.

Jennifer Wilson has been appointed as co-head of the global human resources officers practice. She is a partner in the firm’s Dallas office focusing on the industrial and consumer products sectors. Ms. Wilson partners with public and private equity-backed companies across sectors to place CHROs and other executives in strategic HR roles, including divisional HR leaders and senior business partners, talent acquisition, talent management, HR transformation, diversity & inclusion, and total rewards.

Katherine Graham Shannon has been named as global head of the digital and technology officers practices. She is a partner in the firm’s San Francisco office. Since joining Heidrick in 2000, Ms. Graham Shannon has worked with clients across all industry segments to place hundreds of CDOs, CIOs, and CTOs. She specializes in senior leadership across digital, technology, engineering, artificial intelligence, security, and other transformative technology roles. Ms. Graham Shannon also partners with venture capital and private equity firms to recruit senior leaders to their portfolio companies.

Fabrice Lebecq becomes global head of the supply chain & operations officers practice. He is a partner in Heidrick’s Brussels office and regional managing partner of the industrial practice across Europe and Africa. Mr. Lebecq has nearly 30 years of international experience in the broader process industries, including chemicals, packaging, building materials, food & feed ingredients, paints & coatings, plastics, composites, metal transformation, and other materials-related sectors. From a functional perspective, he serves a wide range of clients in procurement, manufacturing & operations, supply chain, planning, and logistics & distribution.

Related: Heidrick & Struggles Enters Agreement to Acquire RosExpert in Russia and WE Partners in Ukraine and Kazakhstan

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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