Kristie Nova to Lead Bespoke Partners’ CEO Practice

Founding partner Kristie Nova will lead the firm’s dedicated practice placing high-impact chief executive officers in private equity portfolio companies. The recruiter returns to her roots as she looks to help PE outfits find top leaders.

December 7, 2022 – San Diego, CA-headquartered executive search firm Bespoke Partners has just announced that founding partner Kristie Nova will lead the firm’s dedicated practice placing high-impact chief executive officers in private equity portfolio companies.

“I’m thrilled to return to my roots and lead our search practice to bring exceptional CEOs to our clients. The CEO plays the most critical role in driving portfolio company growth and achieving value creation objectives. Finding the most effective leader for that role has never been more important than in today’s challenging economic climate,” said Ms. Nova.

“Kristie provides exceptional search leadership that will enable us to fast-track the recruiting and placement of CEOs who understand how to inspire teams and grow businesses despite today’s uncertain economic conditions,” said Eric Walczykowski, CEO of Bespoke. “We are excited to partner with private equity firms to bring their portfolio companies CEOs who win.”

Ms. Nova founded Bespoke Partners in 2011 and grew the firm into the premier human capital advisory partner for private equity firms investing in the growth and middle market software sector. As private equity firms have raised record-breaking funds in recent years, Bespoke likewise has expanded its executive network and search expertise to address leadership needs for companies across the private equity spectrum, from growth to middle market to large cap.

Leading a Portfolio Company

In doing so, the Bespoke team has developed unique insights into the types of chief executives who can lead a portfolio company to achieve an investment thesis.

“A key trend we are seeing is demand for CEOs who know how to orchestrate capital-efficient growth in their companies,” said Ms. Nova. “Strategies pursued in the past to ‘grow at all costs’ are no longer viable when economic headwinds make capital more expensive and reduce access to funding. We have a network of CEOs with proven ability to lead companies to grow profitably.”

Related: Bespoke Partners Adds CEO of Sales Benchmark Index as Board Member

Bespoke Partners places on average three CEOs per quarter in the portfolio companies of top tier private equity firms. Bespoke-placed CEOs have gone on to lead companies to multiple acquisitions, high-growth market expansion, and numerous successful exits with valuations of more than $1 billion, generating many multiples in enterprise value. Examples of firms that excelled under the leadership of Bespoke-placed CEOs include Brightly, Provation, Quest and Therapy Brands.

Bespoke Partners Receives Strategic Investment from AEA Growth
Bespoke Partners has received a strategic investment from AEA Growth. “We are excited to collaborate with the team at AEA Growth to enhance our services and deliver even greater value to our clients,” said Bespoke founder Kristie Nova. “The investment team brings deep expertise in technology-enabled professional services and retained search that will help us continue to grow and scale while continuing to deliver unparalleled client satisfaction.”

“Bespoke Partners is a best-in-class retained executive search firm due to its high-performance team culture and committed focus on the enterprise software market for over a decade,” said Ravi Sarin, co-head and partner of AEA Growth. “We see tremendous growth potential for Bespoke as it scales its team and further leverages technology to drive high quality placements and human capital advisory services for its clients.”

Bespoke’s sector expertise and leadership assessment methodology allow the firm to identify leaders who have the greatest potential for success in a role and to recruit them in typically half the industry average time. The company boasts a 99 percent placement success rate.

“Our experience with recruiting top leaders enables us to comprehensively analyze the technical skills and leadership behaviors that will make a CEO successful in a given company,”  said Ms. Nova. “Then our unmatched network of CEOs with outstanding private equity track records permits us to quickly identify and engage the leaders who will be the best fit.”

Serving the PE Sector

Bespoke Partners is an executive search and leadership advisory firm dedicated to partnering with top private equity firms, including Francisco Partners, Clearlake Capital, WCAS, Insight Partners, GI Partners, General Atlantic, CVC Capital Partners, and TA Associates, among many others, to recruit software talent and assess and evaluate teams at every stage of the investment lifecycle, from growth equity to buyout.

The search firm has completed over 600 searches since its inception a decade ago. Its expertise includes all C-level searches across multiple functional domains, including financial officers, HR and people, marketing and technology, as well as board of directors and internal private equity operating partner searches. The firm’s expanding leadership advisory platform includes organizational due diligence as well as executive assessment and coaching.

New Search Practices

Earlier this year, Bespoke Partners launched three new dedicated executive search practices to accelerate recruiting of high-impact leaders for private equity-backed software companies. The new dedicated practices provide in-depth, role-specific focus on sales and marketing leaders, technology leaders, and human resources leaders. Bespoke Partners said this approach enables the firm to rapidly find and recruit leaders with the greatest potential to execute on portfolio company value creation plans to achieve an investment thesis.

“The talent market is tight, especially for seasoned leaders with successful private equity track records,” said Mr. Walczykowski. “At the same time, it has never been more critical to quickly find leaders who can immediately start to execute on value creation plans. Our alignment of search and advisory teams around functional roles delivers faster results with more thorough assessment and unmatched access to the best candidates.”

The new practices joining these include: go-to-market (GTM) leaders, who recruit sales and marketing leaders to drive portfolio company growth to win market share and ramp revenues; technology leaders, who recruit chief technology officers and chief product officers to spearhead innovation, orchestrate development and create high-value technology intellectual property; and talent and human resource leaders, who recruit human resources and talent management leaders to grow and motivate teams, manage corporate expansion and develop winning company cultures.

Related: Why Connecting Private Equity with Executive Search Matters More Now than Ever

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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