Heidrick & Struggles Appoints CHRO

December 5, 2018 – Executive search, leadership consulting and culture shaping services provider Heidrick & Struggles International has named Sarah Payne as its new chief human resources officer (CHRO). Rick Greene, Heidrick’s current CHRO, will move into the Heidrick Consulting business as a partner. Both leadership changes will become effective on Jan.1.

Ms. Payne had served as vice president of human resources, global executive search, where she worked closely with Heidrick & Struggles’ global human resources team and regional leadership teams “to create employee-focused solutions that have supported the company during a period of significant growth and innovation,” the firm said. “She has demonstrated her ability to effectively align people and business strategies and will bring nearly 20 years of HR experience and leadership into the CHRO role.”

Prior to joining Heidrick, Ms. Payne was director of global executive compensation at Bunge, a leading global agribusiness company. Earlier in her career, she was global director of compensation and benefits at PanAmSat, a satellite communications company that was later acquired by Intelsat.

“As Heidrick & Struggles continues to grow and evolve into a data-driven leadership advisor and people solutions provider, strong leadership and collaboration with our human resources teams will remain integral to our success,” said Krishnan Rajagopalan, president and CEO, Heidrick & Struggles. “Sarah’s proven leadership record and experience with total rewards, employee engagement and development, talent management and acquisition will be critical in the ongoing growth and development of our global workforce.”

Shifting Roles

Mr. Greene will re-join Heidrick Consulting as a partner to help drive the growth of the firm’s consulting business, focusing on bringing the firm’s full set of leadership and culture shaping solutions to CEOs and C-suite leaders who are looking to accelerate business performance and drive transformational change.


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As CHRO, Mr. Greene has played a key role in promoting new diversity and inclusion initiatives and introducing important changes to the firm’s performance management, compensation and professional development programs, the firm said. Earlier in his career, he led Heidrick’s consulting business in the Americas and advised client boards and CEOs, primarily in financial services, on managing succession planning and driving major changes in leadership and culture.

“In his role as CHRO, Rick has been a valued member of the executive leadership team, as well as a trusted mentor to many throughout our firm,” Mr. Rajagopalan added. “We are excited to see Rick move into his next role at our firm as he will bring a wealth of global, cross-functional experience to our growing Heidrick Consulting business.”

Hot Pursuit of CHROs

Executive recruiters are in hot pursuit of chief human resources officers and other senior-level HR leaders across the nation. As such, the appointment of Ms. Payne is seen as an important move for Heidrick. The best HR chiefs are now seen as integral strategic advisors to the C-suite, and the ones in demand are those who are sounding boards for CEOs.


CHROs Choose New Path As Search Consultants

Hunt Scanlon Media has taken note of the recent trend among top HR executives reestablishing themselves as executive recruiters. Executive search can provide talent acquisition professionals with a new career path. For CHROs, chief talent officers and other top line C-suite HR executives the cross-over skills required are nearly identical. But some aspects of the job can challenge the notion that moving from one sector to another is easy …. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

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In addition, demand for senior level HR executives is rising, according to recruiters specializing in the function. Hiring forecasts point to a growing sense of urgency within the HR community to prepare and plan for coming talent shortages. Recent hiring trends data show that a full one third of companies polled said their organizations were hiring for HR positions. This number is up from 20 percent just 18 months ago.

CHROs have become critical stakeholders in defining the strategy of a company, and they are expected to tackle the HR challenges and evolving expectations of a dynamic workplace environment that will consist of constant change, calculated risk taking and evolving expectations from top stakeholders,” said Neil Shastri, leader for global insights & innovation at Aon Hewitt. “Those well-equipped to achieve the greatest success will have diverse skill sets, be adaptable and agile, and gain hands-on learning from working through real life situations and acquiring knowledge across disciplines and industries.”

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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