July 16, 2013 – L. Kevin Kelly has stepped down as chief executive officer of Heidrick & Struggles and resigned from the firm's board. The markets have responded with skepticism, driving down the stock 16 percent on the news. Jory Marino, regional leader, Americas, will serve as interim CEO while a search committee of the board considers both internal and external candidates for the position. Richard Beattie, chairman of the board of Heidrick, said: "Kevin Kelly has had a distinguished 17-year career at Heidrick & Struggles, the last seven as CEO where he led the company through a very challenging period of macroeconomic uncertainty. As we conduct a search for a permanent CEO, the board is confident that Jory Marino, a key member of the senior executive team, will provide the continuity of leadership to ensure that Heidrick & Struggles continues to execute on behalf of its clients and shareholders worldwide." Heidrick said it will now pursue a go-it-alone strategy and will not consider other alternatives for its business as was reported last month. But in light of the pressures facing the company as well as those facing the headhunting business in general, many think the company will ultimately be acquired by a larger, global talent management player. HSZ Media recently suggested in one of its talent management analyst reports that Heidrick could be a fit for Recruit Holdings Inc. based in Tokyo. "The earth is moving under this sector and a deal for Heidrick is likely to happen sooner than later," said Scott A. Scanlon, a managing director at HSZ. Heidrick & Struggles is a provider of senior-level executive search and leadership advisory services, including succession planning, executive assessment, talent retention management, executive development, transition consulting for newly appointed executives, and M&A human capital integration consulting.