Keystone Partners Acquires The Ayers Group and Center for Executive Coaching

June 14, 2024 – Keystone Partners, a founding member of Career Partners International and a portfolio company of Silver Oak Services Partners, has acquired The Ayers Group, a provider of executive coaching, leadership development and outplacement services, from Kelly Services, Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. This strategic acquisition further broadens Keystone’s capacity to deliver career management and leadership transformation solutions in the New York metropolitan area. “Joining forces with The Ayers Group builds upon our strengths and extends our reach, reinforcing our mission to empower organizations and individuals to navigate and succeed in an ever-evolving work environment,” said Tim Baldwin, CEO of Keystone Partners. “Today more than ever, businesses are seeking partners who can offer a combination of deep expertise, flexibility and empathy. These are shared values across the Keystone Partners and Ayers organizations.”

Founded in 1975 and headquartered in New York City, The Ayers Group has been a leader in adapting companies to change, offering comprehensive guidance on human resources, and organizational development. “By integrating The Ayers Group’s deep customer relationships, and strong bench of career and executive coaches, Keystone Partners enhances its ability to support professionals and organizations through every phase of the career lifecycle,” the company said

“We are excited about this new chapter with Keystone Partners,” said Larry Fisher, vice president and practice leader for The Ayers Group. “Our combined resources and shared commitment to excellence and innovation only strengthens our ability to support clients looking to transform their human capital strategies.”

Founded in 1982, Keystone Partners is a career management and leadership development consulting firm headquartered in Boston. Keystone works with organizations in New England, Chicago, the Research Triangle, and around the world to efficiently and effectively address their career management and development needs.

Related: Conviction And Speed To Drive M&A Deals In 2024

Keystone Partners also recently acquired The Center for Executive Coaching (CEC), a provider of executive coach certification and training for accomplished professionals. This acquisition brings together a provider of leadership development and outplacement services with an executive coach certification provider, expanding the reach and impact of both companies.

Results-Driven Approach

Founded in 2006 by Andrew Neitlich, CEC has trained thousands of executive coaches globally using a results-driven approach which develops executive coaches who excel at achieving practical results with their clients. “Keystone Partners and CEC are a natural fit, bringing together two companies that are focused on providing personalized solutions with the power to truly impact the trajectory of an individual career or an entire business,” said Erin Joyner, executive vice president of CEC. Through their shared expertise, Keystone Partners and CEC are now poised to support individuals through the full career lifecycle, from onboarding to developing current and future leaders, through leadership training programs and executive coaching, and now, with the addition of CEC, enabling individuals and organizations to develop their coaching capacity for scaled impact.”

Winning Through M&A: The Remarkable Habits Of Successful Dealmakers

Nearly 15 years ago, McKinsey & Company set out to answer a critically important management issue: What type of M&A strategy creates the most value for large companies. The answer that came back was clear: Companies that practice programmatic M&A are likely to outperform competitors. In 2019, McKinsey took another look. It’s research reflected the growing importance of placing multiple bets and being nimble with capital. In a dataset of 1,000 global companies examined over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017, programmatic acquirers achieved higher excess total shareholder returns than did industry peers using other M&A strategies, such as large deals, selective acquisitions, or organic growth.

“We now have significantly more resources to continue the growth of CEC,” said Mr. Neitlich. “To improve our standing as a leader in executive coaching training and certification, and most importantly, to bring even more value to our members. CEC plans to expand its coach certification program offerings, upgrade the member site and distance learning experience, and extend the value of its solutions to coaches well past the program completion through recertification support and alumni networking opportunities.”

“We are thrilled to have Andrew Neitlich and the Center for Executive Coaching join the Keystone Partners team, and we are looking forward to investing in the CEC team as it continues to support the development of executive coaches,” said Mr. Baldwin. “With its results-oriented and flexible approach to coach training, CEC is a perfect complement to Keystone’s leadership development capabilities. Whether you are a professional looking to become an executive coach, a leader seeking coaching services, or an organization looking to build your internal coaching capability, we have the world-class expertise to help you achieve your goals.”

Related: M&A Dealmakers Intensify Focus On Founders’ Background Checks To Help Mitigate Risk

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

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