September 19, 2022 – What the future holds for the executive search industry, and the business world in general, is an open question, especially in these volatile times. But a new report from Joel M. Koblentz, founding partner of The Koblentz Group in Atlanta, says that some key indicators are pointing to a robust next 12 months. Among those signs, chief executive officers are experiencing the highest turnover of the past two decades.
“While we don’t profess to possess a crystal ball, we are observing a dramatic shift driven by this high number of CEO changeouts and the priorities and performance expectations that their boards have set for these new leaders, and, therefore for their executive teams,” said Mr. Koblentz.
“As the economic environment becomes less predictable, the request for our service continues to accelerate as clients face increasing pressures to attract and recruit operating executives who will shape their culture and align more effectively to achieve tangible outcomes, now,” he said.
Specifically, The Koblentz Group is in the midst of several engagements where its clients are demanding leaders who will enhance and accelerate the “controllables,” execute, and continually adjust to achieve superior outcomes. “Within that context, given the current pressure on equity valuations, our clients are seeking track records of applying technology smartly as a major element of successful and ongoing transformations,” said Mr. Koblentz.
“Also, we are experiencing an uptick in the demand for marketing leaders who are able to work through the complexities and nuances of achieving customer loyalty as well as for CFOs who, beyond technical experience, will upgrade the finance function’s skill and ability to strategically influence results,” he added.
Mr. Koblentz says that his firm’s clients—public and private controlled, and in multiple sectors—continue to face the granular operating challenges of today’s disruptive economic climate while positioning for enhancing future enterprise value. “Nuanced, complex, and betting on the unknowns requires a true acute appreciation for leadership: execution well delivered, with the right resources aligned, and with the most qualified and agile executives,” he said.
“Frequently, we have observed that leaders take too much comfort in their executives and don’t place enough stock into evaluating whether, given today’s benchmarks and the high cost of not meeting those expectations, whether their leaders are fully able to make the courageous and oftentimes uncomfortable decisions to assure a viable future,” said Mr. Koblentz. “That’s where we play a critical and valuable role: assessing and recruiting key leaders for their demonstrated ability to perform now and with proven performance leap.”
Over the last several months, The Koblentz Group has, with national reach, completed engagements for companies of various sectors and scale, such as Coke One, EmployBridge, Farmer Brothers, EVO Payments, Coca-Cola Consolidated, Enable Comp, Valtir (Trinity Highway Products), among others, as well as portfolio investments of Welch, Carson, Anderson & Stowe; Monomoy Capital Partners; Apollo; and others.
While The Koblentz Group treats each client and engagement as unique, says Mr. Koblentz, the firm has seen certain current commonalities and considerations in its clientele:
“All seek leaders who are able to execute under uncertainty with a keen awareness and appreciation of reaching a decision with speed knowing that adjustments will be required as conditions warrant,” he said. This calls for resilience and an “open mind” adaptability while avoiding the traps of the usual “not invented here” that inhibits change.
Strategic and Talent-Oriented
Leaders with this mindset are in short supply. The firm’s clients want leaders who, beyond applicable experience, will bring true foresight, an agile mindset, and a performance track record along with generational sensitivities and belief in inclusiveness, said Mr. Koblentz.
“In addition to an increasing requirements for CEOs and the recruitment for board seats, demand for strategically and talent-oriented CHROs and technology leaders (CIOs, CTOs, and chief digital officers) are at the forefront,” he said. “This heightened demand reflects the pressure on, and by, boards and/or ownership to better ‘partner’ human capital and technology to accrete value by more efficiently aligning and leveraging controllable factors in a less than the predictable competitive commercial environment.”
The Koblentz Group specializes in recruiting C-level leaders and board directors. The firm was founded by Mr. Koblentz in 2002. His practice, as developed over the last 30 years, can best be described as “at the value creation level” for publicly traded companies and private equity concerns. He advises corporate boards on succession and recruitment of new board members, the recruitment of CEOs and executive leadership. Mr. Koblentz’s typical clients are boards of directors, chief executives or controlling shareholders. Previously, he was a senior partner at Egon Zehnder.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media