Heidrick & Struggles Launches New Recruiting Practice Focused on AI

June 25, 2018 – Citing a shortage of leaders with the ability to apply a deep understanding of artificial intelligence to transform an organization’s business model, Heidrick & Struggles has launched a new specialty practice focused on AI. The unit, which will help clients identify and develop senior talent needed to bring the power of emerging technologies to their business, will be led by San Francisco-based partner Ryan Bulkoski.

“Our clients are eager to incorporate AI and adaptive learning into their business strategies, and recognize the need to build their expertise and talent pipeline in the space,” said Krishnan Rajagopalan, the firm’s president and CEO. “Ryan brings to his role extensive experience advising clients on their senior talent needs as they navigate unprecedented uncertainty and technological disruption.”

Beyond Process Automation

Machine learning and other advanced forms of AI can help companies in every sector move beyond process automation that has helped drive efficiency and growth. Integrating and optimizing adaptive changes made possible by AI can provide massive competitive advantage, said Heidrick & Struggles. But there is a critical shortage of leaders with the ability to apply a deep understanding of AI to completely rethink and transform an organization’s business model.

“The further development of our AI focus will allow us to better help our clients identify talented executives who can drive enterprise-wide transformation through AI and machine learning solutions,” said Mr. Bulkoski.

Mr. Bulkoski has played a critical role in building the firm’s expertise in AI and digital transformation, supporting clients across financial services, technology, industrial, pharmaceutical and consumer retail.

AI Placement Experience

In recent years, Heidrick & Struggles has placed numerous senior executives in key digital roles – including chief artificial intelligence officers, heads of machine learning, and chief data scientists – to help organizations ranging from start-ups to private equity firms to Fortune 500 companies unlock the potential of AI.

“With world-class knowledge in the field, our team works with organizations of all sizes, across industries, to provide the best technical and strategic-minded talent in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and data science,” said the firm.


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Mr. Bulkoski joined Heidrick & Struggles in 2010 as an associate. Since then, he has served as senior associate, engagement manager, associate principal, principal and partner. Previously, he worked for talent enlistment firm LRN, ON Search Partners and CT Partners.

Innovation Network

Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles continues to expand its offerings. Earlier this month, the firm launched a new cross-industry corporate innovation network that it is calling the Game-Changer Collaborative (GCC).

The GCC enables members to collaborate around emerging technologies, external innovation opportunities and approaches to accelerating innovation in their organizations, said the Chicago-based firm. The GCC includes several live and virtual working sessions as well as research and knowledge-sharing platforms.

Related: AI Ushers in a New Day for Companies and Recruiters

Current ecosystem partners that interact with the GCC include: the University of Pennsylvania, including Penn Medicine, Penn Engineering, Pennovation and Wharton/Mack Institute; Exploit Technologies PTE LTD, an industry-government technological incubator in Singapore; Foundry.ai, a technology studio focused on data science; Swift Labs, a product design team specializing in the Internet of Things; Tsinghua Holdings, the venture capital investment arm of the Tsinghua University in China; and ICONYC Labs, a platform for Israeli ventures expanding to the U.S.

Members in the proprietary network already include a leading global retailer, two global pharmaceutical companies, a global financial services company and a leading university and its medical system, said Heidrick. The firm intends to expand the GCC in terms of both industries and geographies represented.

Disruptive Innovators

The firm also recently started a “disruptive innovators team” to “advise companies on the cusp of rapid growth, breakthrough innovation and market disruption.” Tim Alexander Lüdke was named leader and global managing partner of the firm’s new practice.

“The disruptive innovators team will serve as a catalyst leveraging expertise from practices throughout the firm to help a new breed of companies accelerate their paths to industry disruption,” said Mr. Rajagopalan. “With a full complement of talent and leadership solutions, we are well positioned to help emerging organizations reach their ambitions for growth, scale and brand impact.”

Related: Artificial Intelligence Changing the Role of Recruiters

Mr. Lüdke, who will report directly to Mr. Rajagopalan, had been European regional managing partner for the firm’s global technology & services practice. He has more than 25 years of industry and executive search experience advising some of the world’s foremost leaders in the tech space.

Heidrick said that its disruptive innovators team will work with upcoming organizations to develop their go-to-market strategies by filling talent gaps, advising on transformation and change management, and accelerating their growth and development. In particular, the team will leverage Heidrick’s global expertise advising companies in a multitude of technology sectors, including fintech and BioTech.

Related: Analytic and Assessment Tools Gain Traction among Headhunters

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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