September 27, 2016 – Kingfisher Talent has been launched to provide executive search services to life sciences companies in Massachusetts. The company is a Boston-based consortium of six luminaries who are experts in their respective fields.
Leading the team is Lucy Watson-Baker, an executive search veteran in the life sciences industry. Ms. Watson-Baker has worked in executive search and talent acquisition for over 15 years. She was previously a partner with boutique search firm MSI Life Sciences, where she co-founded its life sciences practice. During her career, she has conducted hundreds of successful executive searches within the C-suite.
Ms. Watson-Baker is joined by consultants Susan Peppercorn, Carol Bergeron, Carol Nicholson, Karen Carmody and Jacqueline Sonnabend.
Companies Struggling for ‘Great Hires’
“We’re seeing life sciences companies in Massachusetts being held back because they’re struggling to compete for great hires,” said Ms. Watson-Baker. “Bringing top performers into the fold within this market is what keeps CEOs up at night. Getting the right team in place and retaining those people so the business can grow is a make-or-break proposition.”
Massachusetts is a growing global hub for life sciences innovation. According to the Boston Business Journal, the biotech sector accounts for many of the fastest-growing companies in the state. Coupled with an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, the result is low labor supply and intense competition for top leaders. Given these realities, Deloitte’s 2016 ‘Global Life Sciences Outlook’ identified talent shortages as a continuing obstacle for companies looking to grow and evolve.
“Missed opportunities in the executive search and hiring process can limit a company’s chances for immediate growth and long-term success, especially for startups and small to mid-size businesses,” said Ms. Watson-Baker. “Part of our mission is to level the playing field by giving clients an elite level of customized services. We help clients choose the best available talent, retain that talent, and ultimately fulfill their strategic vision.”
“The life sciences sector has changed beyond anyone’s expectations over the last two decades,” said Bianca Coulter, CEO of life sciences-focused search firm Coulter Partners. “Advances in science and technology obviously cause the bio-pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors to evolve at a pace that outstrips most others. This has major implications for search firms serving the sector.”
Aside from its corporate headquarters in London, Coulter Partners maintains U.S. offices in Morristown and Princeton, NJ. In addition to an office in Cambridge, MA, the firm launched an office in Newton, MA this past February. Overseas, Coulter has additional offices in Eysins and Basel, Switzerland; Lyngby, Denmark; as well as Frankfurt and Berlin.
“Specialization as a search firm in this sector involves keeping very close to a host of scientific, technology and market trends, and requires deep understanding and access to leaders across the whole of the sector’s value chain,” Ms. Coulter added.
Search Firms Formed to Serve Life Sciences Sector
A handful of new executive recruiting outfits have been formed via mergers, acquisitions and launches in recent months to serve the life sciences sector. Here is a look at just a few:
- ZRG Partners acquired certain assets of Illinois-based life sciences recruiter McLean Consulting and added John McLean as a managing director in its global life sciences search practice. Mr. McLean will work out of ZRG’s Chicago office after the transaction formally closes this month;
- HM Long Global Partners Ltd merged with RSVP Group, a global boutique recruiting outfit that focuses exclusively on the life sciences and chemical sectors. The combined firms give the newly-merged entity a broad global presence in New York, Zurich, London, Paris, Boston, Wiesbaden, Washington, D.C., Princeton, Austin, Shanghai and Singapore;
- Macdonald Lewis Associates Limited launched to provide executive search services to the life sciences industry. The search team has demonstrable experience supporting client recruitment needs that span startups to Fortune 500 companies, including biotech, consulting, contract research, diagnostics, ethical pharma, generics, medical devices / med tech, nutrition and veterinarian concerns. The firm is led by life sciences talent management veteran Susan Macdonald.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media