October 3, 2019 – Los Angeles-based executive recruiter and leadership consulting firm Korn Ferry has announced that it will acquire three companies from TwentyEighty Inc. in the leadership development area: Miller Heiman Group, AchieveForum and Strategy Execution. The transaction is expected to close by Nov. 1. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
“The combination brings a world-class portfolio of learning, development and performance improvement offerings and expertise to Korn Ferry and will bolster our firm’s substantial leadership development capabilities,” said Gary D. Burnison, CEO, Korn Ferry.
In a joint statement, Byron Matthews of Miller Heiman Group, Christoffer Ellehuus of Strategy Execution and Scott Bohannon of AchieveForum said their organizations had found the perfect strategic home at Korn Ferry. “We are enthusiastic about what the future will bring from this acquisition in terms of synergistic product and consulting solution offerings for our customers as well as career opportunities for our employees,” said the company leaders.
“As a 20-plus year veteran of the sales and service performance market, I could not be more excited for our employees, our clients and our independent sales consultants to be a part of this next phase of Miller Heiman Group,” said Mr. Matthews, president and CEO, in a blog post on his company’s website. “Our decision to join Korn Ferry means that we are, in no uncertain terms, creating a Category of One in the marketplace.”
Alignment and Execution
“While these two organizations excelled independently, together, we will seamlessly deliver the two most critical elements of any world-class sales organization: alignment and execution,” he said. “This combination accomplishes what no other consulting or professional services firm in the world has done before: organizational alignment and on-the-ground execution to build world-class sales and services teams.”
Miller Heiman Group specializes in transforming sales performance and customer experience. AchieveForum offers frontline leadership development. Strategy Execution provides organizational and project management training. Combined, the three companies have trained thousands of professionals and hundreds of clients across the globe and have substantial expertise in sales performance and customer experience, frontline leadership development and project management.
Spencer Stuart Acquires Several Business Units of Aon
With culture shaping now seen as one of the most important drivers to achieve competitive advantage among companies, many search firms – including the global leaders as well as the boutiques – now offer some variation of it.
It includes human capital management, business transformation strategy, leader engagement, talent optimization, organizational development, HR transformation, and leadership and talent management.
To bolster its leadership in the space, executive search firm Spencer Stuart has reached a definitive agreement with global professional services firm Aon to acquire certain businesses within its talent practice, specifically its culture and engagement, leadership development and advisory, and related products and services.
Content is King
The companies will be part of a newly branded Korn Ferry Digital (formerly the Products Group), which, working closely with Consulting, will provide clients direct access to data, insights and analytics from one of the world’s most comprehensive people and organizational databases, said Korn Ferry. The addition of these three companies is expected to further expand Korn Ferry’s intellectual property and content and leverage the firm’s digital delivery platforms.
Content is a new and especially important business driver for Korn Ferry. Korn Ferry Advance is one recently added career coaching service launched by the firm focused on helping candidates with nearly every aspect of their career. The platform is a subsidiary of Korn Ferry.
“In a very, very short time, we’ve gone to kind of asking could we do this, to a full-fledged offering with 82,000 professionals who are benefiting from to-date about 11,000 coaching sessions. We’re building the world’s career gymnasium for people to exercise their career fitness,” said Mr. Burnison in a recent earnings call with investment analysts.
Korn Ferry Advance touts itself as a “personalized career accelerator” and offers career coaching and helpful tools – from resume assistance, behavioral interview preparation by way of an AI interview bot, to career coaching, and negotiation advice. KF Advance does not provide technical interview preparation or specific industry-based coaching.
KF Advance is a subscription service. Members pay $49 a month for access to chat support, coaching sessions, a job board and a book penned by Mr. Burnison. Membership includes a valuable career assessment.
Rivals to Korn Ferry – other Top 5 ranked firms as well as a growing chorus of boutiques – are also looking at expanding into the content business. Why? Many see valuations dropping for pure-play recruiting outfits. Adding content, and going digital, can add multiples in value.
One such competitor: Options Group, a top player serving the financial services markets with revenues that topped $65 million in total global revenue last year. One tool that Options Group has in its arsenal is OG iQ, a strategic research and benchmarking offering that provides data, analytics and real-time industry intelligence.
“The strength of OG iQ and of analogous platforms in development among our competitors lies not just in better hiring decisions but in decision making on every dimension,” said Richard Stein, chief growth officer at Options Group and head of OG iQ. “We’re helping clients plan for where they will be in one year, five years and beyond. Understanding the talent they’ll need to take them there is implicit to that work.”
OG iQ offerings include strategic planning, human capital needs forecasting, coaching, competency assessment, and benchmarking, among other services.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media