Macrae Appoints Chief Operating Officer

May 8, 2024 – Legal search firm Macrae has appointed Leah Guggenheimer as chief operating officer. She will be based in New York. “Leah’s proven leadership and extensive experience directing and enhancing a wide spectrum of business operations at some of the world’s most successful organizations, including a major international law firm, make her a perfect fit for Macrae,” said Joe Macrae, founder and chairman. “She joins the firm at an important juncture. Since launching  our strategic expansion plan in 2017, Macrae has grown to 20 recruiters across five offices and our performance has consistently outpaced even our high expectations.”

“In recent months we have significantly advanced our technology and data management infrastructure, and Leah is ideally suited to ensuring we maximize our capabilities in this regard and many others,” Mr. Macrae said. “We are thrilled by how far we have come and, with Leah on board, we look forward to reaching even greater heights.”

Ms. Guggenheimer has over 20 years of leadership experience driving operational efficiency and process improvement at companies in the legal and financial services space. She most recently served as managing director, core services and chief innovation officer at Burford Capital, a provider of commercial legal finance. Her multifaceted responsibilities at Burford, where she worked for nearly a decade, included overseeing technology, data integrity, information security, project management, software development, research services, operational risk, facilities management, and office administration. Ms. Guggenheimer’s prior roles included serving as chief of staff at Bridgewater Associates, director of business process redesign at Dechert and director of change management at Jackson Lewis, among others.

“I was drawn to Macrae by the firm’s niche business model of focusing on the placement of first-rate partners into the world’s best law firms – of being the Cartier of the legal marketplace,” said Ms. Guggenheimer. “The strategy Macrae’s leadership has taken to achieve this, including bringing together the top recruiters across the world’s largest legal markets under one roof and investing heavily in data and knowledge management, is both bold and exciting. I also appreciate the firm’s stress on collegiality in its culture and hiring. A lot of companies talk a big game about the importance of culture and it’s just that. It is very clear to me that Macrae walks the talk.”

Ms. Guggenheimer rounds out an executive team comprised of chairman Mr. Macrae, CEO Carter Brown and chief administrative officer Karina Robles. She will also serve on the firm’s Board of Directors. As part of her wide-ranging responsibilities, she will oversee Macrae’s 20 recruiters operating from London, New York, Washington D.C., and the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the firm’s expanded marketing efforts led by director of marketing Gabby Kitney, who joined in April.

Leadership Appointments at Search Firms

Top leadership appointments, of men and women, have been gaining traction at executive search firms over the past year. Here’s a look at several examples taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Chicago-based Ferguson Partners has appointed Graham R. Beatty as president. “As president, Graham is the ideal candidate given his deep expertise in the real assets industry, unwavering commitment to exceptional client service, and great respect by clients and colleagues alike. We are thrilled to have him on board,” said William J. Ferguson, co-chairman and CEO of the firm. “With a track record of success and unique understanding of today’s complex market, Graham is fully prepared to lead our company into the future by building upon Ferguson’s current strengths and further expanding our proven talent management solutions.”

New York City-based executive search firm Heyman Associates has appointed Jessamyn Katz as its new chief executive officer. Founder and CEO Bill Heyman, who established the firm in 1989, will be retiring at the end of the year. Ms. Katz has served as president since 2019. Mr. Heyman will remain as an advisor to the firm. “My life’s joy for the last 35 years has been building relationships and truly getting to know the incredible talent, leaders, and organizations we have served,” said Mr. Heyman. “Our firm has been responsible for filling top communications and corporate affairs roles for some of the world’s leading brands, corporations, foundations, academic institutions, and professional associations.”

Odgers Berndtson has named Kennon Kincaid as its new CEO for its U.S. business, succeeding Steve Potter, who has held the position for the past 12 years. Mr. Potter, who will remain an active board member, has grown the firm to become No. 12 on the Hunt Scanlon Top 50 Recruiters ranking in the U.S. “He has built a strong team, and a particular achievement has been hiring and developing Kennon as his successor,” Odgers Berndtson said. “They have worked closely together for five years as COO and CEO preparing for this transition.” Mr. Kincaid has spent the past four years as the Odgers Berndtson U.S. chief operating officer, where he oversaw its people, processes, and operations.

Executive search firm Gilman Partners has appointed Angel Beets as chief executive officer and Marci Pfeifer as chief operating officer. Tom Gilman, who has served as CEO since purchasing the firm in 2004, will take the role of chairman. “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished over the last 19 years,” said Mr. Gilman. “We have a great team that is known and well-respected in the business community, and consistently acts in our clients’ best interests to strengthen leadership teams and elevate the talent in our communities. I’m most proud of the client and community relationships we have built and our role as a trusted confidant on talent related matters. It’s time to let Angel and Marci lead us to the next level.”

Related: Search Firms Bolster Their Own C-Suites to Broaden Push Into Talent Ecosystem

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

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