June 29, 2017 – Korn Ferry has assisted Mutual of America Life Insurance Company in adding Dr. Ellen Ochoa to its board of directors. Alan Guarino, vice chairman in the firm’s CEO and board services practice, led the search along with senior client partner Maureen Ryan.
“I am delighted that Dr. Ochoa has joined Mutual of America’s board of directors,” said Thomas J. Moran, chairman of the board. “Her leadership, expertise and her lifetime of dedicated service to our country will enable Dr. Ochoa to make a significant contribution to the board as the company continues its commitment to help individuals save for a financially secure future.”
Dr. Ochoa is the director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. She is the center’s first Hispanic director and its second female director. She joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center and moved to Johnson Space Center in 1990 when she was selected as an astronaut. In 1993, she became the first Hispanic woman to go into space and has logged nearly 1,000 hours in orbit.
Over the years, Dr. Ochoa has been honored a slew of awards: the Harvard Foundation Science Award, Women in Aerospace Outstanding Achievement Award, Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity and the Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award, in addition to various NASA honors. She has also had six schools named for her. Dr. Ochoa is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the National Academy of Inventors. She serves as a member of the National Science Board and chairs the Nomination Evaluation Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.
Mutual of America specializes in providing retirement products and services to organizations and their employees, as well as to individuals. Founded in 1945, it is ranked on the Forbes 500 list as the 10th largest mutual life insurance company in the U.S.
The Search Consultants
As a former CEO and veteran consultant, Mr. Guarino brings a unique perspective to Korn Ferry. He has a proven track record working with corporate boards and executive teams to drive business and talent management strategies. Currently, he leads major consulting initiatives across industries, with an expertise in global financial markets. Mr. Guarino launched Korn Ferry’s execution accelerator initiative, which is designed to help business leaders better execute their strategies. He also leads senior executive search and C-suite succession assignments for large Fortune 500 companies, as well as cutting-edge fintech companies within capital markets.
Ms. Ryan has conducted searches at all levels of executive leadership for clinical and non-clinical positions in several leading healthcare organizations and schools of medicine. In addition, she has placed executives for medically-focused non-profit organizations and associations. Recently Ms. Ryan placed the medical director for the Bert Bell / Pete Rozelle NFL Players Retirement Plan.
Director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging, report recruiters with board practice emphasis. According to rival recruiting outfit Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.
At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded “board experienced” directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited, as such candidates are both widely sought after yet sometimes hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.
As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help them lure new board members. Most in demand, recruiters report: women, senior leaders with global experience, ethnically diverse professionals, and Millennials.
Here’s a brief look at a small selection of search firms and their recent board work taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
Spencer Stuart assisted Fred’s Inc. (Fred’s Pharmacy) in adding Christopher W. Bodine, Peter J. Bocian, and Michael K. Bloom to its board of directors. The directorship placements are part of an ongoing reconstitution process at Fred’s in which the board has been actively engaged, with the assistance of Spencer Stuart.
Epsen Fuller Group placed Anita Allen as a member of the board of directors at Tingley Rubber Corporation. The company sought a director that would bring diversity of thought and a strong financial background. Ms. Allen, founder and CEO of Allen Advisory Group, a boutique management consultancy, formerly was a consulting partner at KPMG.
Diversified Search recruited Frederic Cumenal, chief executive officer of Tiffany & Co., to serve as a member of the board of directors at Constellation Brands. Charles King, a managing director in Diversified’s New York office, led the search. Before working at Tiffany & Co., Mr. Cumenal spent 15 years in senior leadership positions in LVMH Group’s wine and spirits businesses.
The Onstott Group assisted A.I.M. Mutual Insurance Companies in the recruitment of Leslie E. Greis to serve on the company’s board of directors. Joe Onstott, managing director, led the assignment. Ms. Greis is the founder and managing member of investment firm, Perennial Capital Advisors, LLC.
Greenwich Harbor Partners placed Liz Ritzcovan as a member of the board of directors at The New York Pops. She is the sixth director to be placed on the Pops board by the Greenwich, Conn-based search firm. Currently, Ms. Ritzcovan is the chief revenue officer for Bazaar Voice and previously served as global chief revenue officer for Sizmek.
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