KeyStone Executive Search and CorTalent Merge to Form Strategic Talent Partners

April 9, 2024 – Founder and CEO of KeyStone Executive Search, Mike Frommelt, and founder and CEO of CorTalent, Mary Nutting, have announced the merger of their firms under the new name – Strategic Talent Partners (STP). “The executive search industry has shifted from solely recruiting leadership talent, to helping organizations manage a more complex set of talent challenges, like exit and succession planning, leadership development, and people strategies,” said Mr. Frommelt. “Mary and I have been providing key leader talent acquisition for private companies for many years and we continue to see a need for business owners to think and act more strategically about talent if they plan to grow.”

“Mike and I have been partnering together for over 16 years serving the private sector,” said Ms. Nutting. “We share the same philosophy of believing that people are a company’s most important asset, and growth and success is dependent on hiring and retaining the right leadership talent at the right time. We are 100 percent aligned in our mission, vision, culture, and values and are excited to bring our people together under a new brand as an integrated and cohesive team.”

Strategic Talent Partners is a North American boutique executive search and leadership solutions firm that specializes in partnering with privately held and employee owned companies. The firm’s executive retained search services include CEO transition and board searches, C-suite searches, and functional leadership searches. The firm’s leadership solutions include leadership assessments, leadership and team workshops and programs, and talent strategies and succession planning.

Mr. Frommelt and Ms. Nutting will co-own Strategic Talent Partners and have appointed Tony Bednar as president to run the new organization. “I have had the distinct pleasure of leading KeyStone Executive Search as president and am now eager to lead both KeyStone and CorTalent as a merged company,” said Mr. Bednar.

The firms’ executive search practice will be led by experienced principals and practice leaders, Bill Frommelt and Todd Johnson, and its leadership solutions practice will be led by principal and practice leader, Rick Rittmaster. The team has appointed industry veteran, Kelli Schutrop, as fractional chief marketing officer.

Recent Alliances

Alliances and partnerships continue to gain traction in the executive search industry. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Horton International has formed a strategic partnership with Brown & Chase, a distinguished name in the Australian Search and HR Advisory landscape. The search consultancy will leverage the expertise brought in by Brown & Chase managing director, Brian Russell and partner, Noel Rowland. “With this latest collaboration, Horton International continues its journey of global expansion which has seen it extend its reach across the Americas, Asia, and Europe in recent years,” the search firm said. Brown & Chase’s partnership with Horton International marks not only an expansion of the firm’s global reach, but also a reinforcement of its commitment to delivering solutions that align with the local market needs.”

Calgary-based Pekarsky & Co. and Edmonton-headquartered Humanis Advisory have formed a strategic partnership. Combining their renowned expertise and deep-rooted legacies, the newly company will be called Humanis Talent Acquisition & Advisory. “This merger is a testament to our shared values and vision,” said Adam Pekarsky, founding partner of Pekarsky & Co. “We are excited to preserve the traditions that have made us so highly respected while embracing the opportunities of the future. This really is a new beginning, and it is just the beginning.” With planning underway to expand east and west, the combined entity will act as a collection of local firms with national reach. The leadership team, comprised of key executives from both companies, is committed to ensuring a seamless transition for employees, clients, and partners.

Saenger Associates and GrowthPhases AG have formed an alliance to expand each firm’s client offering to include retained executive search, interim management and business consulting. The two firms were founded in 1999 and 2000 respectively. Saenger Associates is a retained executive search firm based in the Santa Clarita, CA, Valley. The firm’s practice areas include Industrial Products, Aerospace & Defense, and Consumer Products. Its clients include private, public, Fortune 500, and non-profit companies that are both established and emerging. GrowthPhases is an international interim management and M&A consultancy firm, which consists of former C-suite executives from multinational corporations and private equity-backed companies. GrowthSpaces, the consulting platform, is focused on interim management and consulting assignments. GrowthPhases’ focus is on working with private equity and investment banks on acquisitions and investment platforms and on investment strategies and opportunities.

Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI) and INNOVA People, Starfish Partners companies, have launched INNOVA Healthcare and INNOVA Tech staffing practice areas. “We have diligently been searching for the right firm to merge our existing staffing business with since the inception of Starfish Partners,” said Dan Charney, president and CEO of Direct Recruiters, Inc. “Joel Slenning and INNOVA People are the ideal partner based on their existing footprint in the hospital IT space. Additionally, their expertise in several other areas of hospital staffing will allow us to become a complete solution for our clients. Frank Myeroff, practice leader and managing partner of the Direct Recruiters existing staffing group will work closely with Joel to continue to grow this division for Starfish across leading medical centers and several other strategic markets that we have identified.” Leveraging decades of experience in healthcare and technology recruiting and merging the staffing divisions of INNOVA People and Direct Recruiters Inc., this newly formed staffing company offers solutions, including contract, contract-to-hire, and temporary placements. In addition, they will offer customized staffing services encompassing consulting, sourcing, identifying, acquiring, onboarding, and retaining senior executives to organizations. Moving forward, the combined staffing companies will be operating under the INNOVA People brand.

Global leadership advisory and executive search firm Sheffield Haworth has formed an alliance with Progress Together, an initiative focused on addressing the socio-economic disparity within the financial services sector. This strategic alliance comes in response to the recent study commissioned by Progress Together and conducted by Bridge Group called Shaping Our Economy, which highlighted socioeconomic background is more likely to impact a person’s route to success in financial services than gender or ethnicity. “At Sheffield Haworth, we firmly believe in the power of diversity and inclusion,” said Frances Denny, managing director and head of the socio-economic diversity group at Sheffield Haworth. “Our partnership with Progress Together underscores our dedication to creating a level playing field for everyone, regardless of their socio-economic background. Together, we are working towards fostering an industry that embraces and celebrates differences, leading to a more vibrant and innovative workforce.” The collaboration between Progress Together and Sheffield Haworth will include a series of initiatives, including webinars, workshops, and training sessions designed to educate businesses about the significance of socio-economic diversity.

Egon Zehnder has formed an alliance with The 350 Club, an online community that connects the FTSE 350 global board community. This partnership combines Egon Zehnder’s boardroom expertise with The 350 Club’s shared vision to fostering an online platform for board members to exchange insights and learnings. “We are incredibly honored to be chosen as The 350 Club’s exclusive search firm partner,” said Karoline Vinsrygg, who leads Egon Zehnder’s U.K. board practice. “This collaboration reflects our mutual commitment to supporting boards and exceptional board leaders, all while championing diversity and innovation. We look forward to leveraging our extensive network and experience to support the growth and success of The 350 Club’s members.” With representation from chairs, group CEOs, board members, and executive committee members across 89 percent of the FTSE 100, as well as board members from 75 percent of the FTSE 250, The 350 Club has a depth of influence across FTSE boardrooms. Both Egon Zehnder and The 350 Club share a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Egon Zehnder has been tracking boardroom diversity globally for nearly 20 years and has developed practices to promote inclusive boardroom cultures. The 350 Club helps to foster a variety of perspectives by curating a group of FTSE 350 board-ready members, with a particular focus on diversity and digital.  

Related: Coulter Partners Forms Alliance with the Institute of Neurodiversity

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


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