July 10, 2017 – Heidrick & Struggles has named Krishnan Rajagopalan as its new president and CEO. Mr. Rajagopalan, who has served as acting CEO since Tracy Wolstencroft took a medical leave of absence in April, will also become board member.
Mr. Wolstencroft, who is on the mend from what is described as a benign lung condition, has been named chairman of the board. He succeeds Richard Beattie, who remains lead independent director of the board. Although Mr. Wolstencroft’s health is improving, the company said, he stepped down because he needs more time to fully recover.
“We are thankful that Tracy’s recovery is progressing well,” said Mr. Beattie, senior chairman at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a New York law firm. “While we are disappointed that he will not return as our CEO, we understand and respect his decision. Krishnan has demonstrated tremendous leadership and the time is right for him to succeed to the president and CEO role.”
Based in Washington, D.C., 57-year-old Mr. Rajagopalan also leads the firm’s executive committee. He has been with Heidrick for 16 years. He started with the company as a recruiter in the global technology and services practice. In 2014, he joined the firm’s executive committee. Last year, he took over as head of its executive search business, Heidrick’s predominant income producer.
Before coming to Heidrick, Mr. Rajagopalan was a vice president and partner with A.T. Kearney Consulting. His responsibilities there included strategy, operations / procurement and e-business across a range of industries, including technology services, hi-tech and manufacturing.
Previously, Mr. Rajagopalan was a consultant with Price Waterhouse in its strategic management consulting group. Before going into executive search, he worked for Harris Corporation as a lead engineer in the commercial satellite communications arena.
Mr. Wolstencroft was named Heidrick’s CEO three years ago. Before that, he had been with Goldman Sachs for 25 years. Under his watch, the firm expanded into more diversified services like corporate culture shaping and leadership development. Revenues also grew by 17 percent.
Recent Leaderships Changes at Heidrick
In June, Heidrick appointed Andrew LeSueur as head of leadership consulting in the Americas. He also continues to support his executive search clients and the industrial and supply chain practices as he transitions into his new role. Mr. LeSueur joined Heidrick & Struggles in 2015 from McKinsey, where he was partner in the operations practice.
In May, the Chicago-based firm named Elizabeth Simpson as head of financial services in New York. Expanding on her duties, Ms. Simpson is now responsible for driving Heidrick’s regional business development, collaborating across the organization’s complementary lines of business and mentoring and developing talent internally.
Also in May, Heidrick appointed Bo Herbst to lead its industrial practice worldwide as global practice managing partner. Mr. Herbst’s new position is an extension of his role as regional practice managing partner for the firm’s industrial practice in the Americas, which he will continue to hold while leading the practice globally.
Heidrick recently named Ian Johnston as managing partner for its culture shaping business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Mr. Johnston has been a senior leader of culture shaping in the European region for the past 15 years, serving most recently as partner. He is known for enabling CEOs to lead with vitality, vision and clear purpose.
Leadership Appointments Rising at Search Firms
Leadership appointments have been gaining traction at executive search firms since the start of the year. Here’s a look at several taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
- Ratliff & Taylor appointed Beth Sweeney as its president, where she now has full profit-and-loss responsibility for each of the company’s three practices: executive search, leadership development and career transition. Ms. Sweeney previously served as market president at the firm.
- Executive search firm Cobalt Recruitment tapped James Wakefield as its CEO. Mr. Wakefield joined Cobalt in 2007 coming from the management team at Michael Page in London.
- Witt/Kieffer named Andrew P. Chastain as its new CEO taking over from Charles “Chuck” W.B. Wardell who remains a senior advisor to the firm. Mr. Chastain has been with the firm since 1997 and currently serves as managing partner and chairman of its healthcare practice.
- McDermott & Bull appointed Brandon Biegenzahn as its new president. Mr. Biegenzahn has been one of the top producers at McDermott & Bull for several years and leads the firm’s financial institutions practice.
- SRiCheyenne named Jay Hussey as CEO. Chief executive and founder, Pat Mastandrea, has moved into a new role at the firm as vice chairman. He joined SRiCheyenne from Odgers Berndston where he led the firm’s U.S. technology and digital transformation practices.
- Legal search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) and executive search firm Allegis Partners named John Cashman as president. Since joining Major, Lindsey & Africa in 2005, Mr. Cashman has risen through the ranks as a recruiter, manager and leader.
- Eric Salmon & Partners announced that its long-standing president, Massimo Milletti, has handed over management of the search firm to two partners who will co-head the partnership. Sophie Wigniolle from the firm’s Paris office will lead together with Raoul Nacke, a managing director in Frankfurt. Ms. Wigniolle has been working for Eric Salmon since 1998 while Mr. Nacke has been with the firm since 2008.
- JR Partners named Josh Gonnella as president and senior managing partner. He joins founding partner and chief operating officer Joe Wein to lead the organization. He brings experience and a diverse career in financial services to the firm. Prior to accepting his new position, he held senior managing director roles at Lloyds Bank.
- Snodgrass Partners recently announced that Tom Jacobs will transition from sports recruitment partner to president. Founder Steve Snodgrass, who previously served as president and chief executive officer, will remain CEO. Mr. Jacobs joined Snodgrass Partners last year to lead the firm’s new sports division.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Chase Barbe, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media