February 8, 2021 – Mark Oppenheimer, former CEO Americas for Marlin Hawk in New York, has launched Modern Executive Solutions in Atlanta. He co-founded the new search outfit with his wife, Michelle Domanico, who serves as chief financial officer. Modern’s purpose, according to Mr. Oppenheimer – who serves as chief executive – is to improve “diverse representation within leadership teams.” The firm has spent months collecting, tracking, and analyzing feedback from hundreds of C-level executives before launching recently.
Modern bills itself as “an innovative executive search and integrated advisory solutions firm,” underpinned with market intelligence and assessment capabilities – strong points of Mr. Oppenheimer’s while serving in various leadership capacities at Marlin Hawk over a 12-year career with the London-based recruitment provider. As he did with Marlin Hawk, Mr. Oppenheimer will address client talent needs with a customizable service approach. “We are determined to set a new benchmark for the search industry,” he said.
Modern Executive Solutions took advantage of a fall pre-launch period, when Mr. Oppenheimer took ‘garden leave’ with Marlin Hawk, to recruit a number of search professionals. These include Archer McFall from ZRG, where he served as a managing director. Mr. McFall was also a colleague of Mr. Oppenheimer’s at Marlin Hawk from 2014 to 2018. Also joining is Scott Macfarlane, who previously spent 14 years with Korn Ferry, most recently serving there as senior partner, global account lead, financial services. Mike Juratovac, Eric Moskowitz and Jim Hansen also join Modern Executive Solutions from Korn Ferry. Mr. Juratovac served as leader of the firm’s North American financial services professional search group; Mr. Moskowitz served as vice president of market intelligence and analytics; and Mr. Hansen served as a financial services sector lead.
Recruiting Transformational Leaders: A Supply and Demand Challenge for Modern Business
Today, technology is front and center of most business change. It can drive efficiency, growth, improved customer service, and an untold number of other elements that lead to success. Now, more than ever, businesses require leaders who understand technology and its possibilities in order to spearhead change.
“To be successful, leaders themselves have to be transformational,” says Colin Baker, a partner at London-based executive search firm Wilton & Bain, and head of the firm’s global technology officers’ practice. “They have to want to change something; they have to want to create positive change within an organization.” These leaders, according to Mr. Baker, are in short supply and heavy demand.
Additionally, Lara DeVito and Chelsea Flynn joined Modern from Options Group, where both served in the firm’s private equity practice. Rounding out the team is former Korn Ferry leadership consultant Kristine Perez-Foley, who also served there as an inclusive leadership coach; Stephanie Young, a 12-year veteran of Heidrick & Struggles; Jim Hansen, a former banking sector leader at Korn Ferry; Libby Hunter, who previously spent 12 years with Korn Ferry as a relationship manager; Carson Golden, an eight-year veteran of Korn Ferry where she served as a senior principal; marketing consultant Jen Nelson; and Donovan Doyle, a former summer associate with Marlin Hawk in New York.
Newly Formed Board of Directors
Modern used its ramp-up period in 2020 to create a formal advisory board of directors to help Mr. Oppenheimer and Ms. Domanico guide the firm forward. Board members include: Don Callahan, who previously served as chief administrative officer and global head of operations and technology at Citigroup; Karen Larrimer, head of retail banking and chief customer officer for the PNC Financial Services Group; LJ Brock, chief people officer for Coinbase; Heather Cox, chief digital health and analytics officer for Humana; Ken Cooper, head of HR at Bloomberg; Bask Iyer, CIO and chief digital transformation officer at VMWare; Darryl West, a senior advisor at Boston Consulting Group; Marcelo Modica, chief people officer at Robinhood; Jeff Wecker, chief technology officer at Two Sigma; Teresa Tanner, most recently chief administrative officer of Fifth Third Bank; Scott Case, chief information officer at Truist; Tom Harrington, a senior advisor to McKinsey; and Scott Tanguay a co-founding partner of private equity firm Pruvista Capital.
“I am excited to be a member of Modern’s advisory board,” said Mr. Brock. “I believe that Mark and the team have created the innovative model for executive search the industry so desperately needs. Successfully building high functioning and diverse leadership teams has never been more challenging, and Modern is specifically designed to solve this problem.”
“As with many other industries, executive search is ready for real transformation and Modern stands ready to be the firm that will lead the way,” said Ms. Cox. “Building upon the best the industry has to offer, the team recognizes the importance of transparent, frictionless experiences that also focus a sharp lens on diversity and true inclusion.”
“The future of candidate selection will grow increasingly dynamic as companies shift to stay competitive and diversity of candidate pools grow,” said Mr. Modica. “Modern is taking a fresh approach by combining traditional market knowledge, an understanding of customer needs and sound judgment while also leveraging new science-based insights and cultural understanding to get the right long term fit.”
Marlin Hawk Builds Winning Strategy on Finding Transformational Leaders
Six years ago, London-based Marlin Hawk sent Mark Oppenheimer, then just 27, to New York to establish an across-the-pond outpost for the enterprising leadership advisory firm. He had four years of experience as a researcher and the faith and support of his bosses back home. But when he stepped off the plane in America, Mr. Oppenheimer was largely on his own.
Today, that picture is quite different. Mr. Oppenheimer is now CEO of the firm’s fast-growing Americas region and Marlin Hawk is growing by double digits in the U.S. After showing steady gains every year since his arrival, the firm’s American revenues will top $18 million this year. Mr. Oppenheimer expects that number to reach $30 million in 2019.
Among the firm’s talent service offerings at launch time, Modern will offer executive search, ‘nouvelle’ assessment – a proprietary methodology designed by the firm that delves into a leader’s personality, motivators, and leadership style to investigate cultural alignment, potential, and a leader’s ability to succeed in new organizations or more complex roles; talent pipelining; succession planning; and executive research.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media