Odgers Berndtson Adds Former Aon Hewitt, Canada CEO

Odgers Berndtson Aon Hewitt, Canada CEO

January 8, 2018 – Executive search firm Odgers Berndtson has continued its recent expansion with the addition of Tony Gaffney as managing partner, to lead the firm’s work with boards and CEOs in driving the strategic talent agenda.

Mr. Gaffney is known for being among Canada’s most experienced business transformation executives. He was formerly CEO of Aon Hewitt, Canada and also a key member of that firm’s global executive committee. Before that, he was a managing partner at Accenture, president and CEO of Bell Nexxia, and CEO of BCE Emergis. He has also held international leadership positions.

“Tony’s extensive board, CEO and C-suite leadership experience across a wide variety of sectors and companies will be critical in helping us continue to innovate for our clients in Canada,” said Carl Lovas, chairman and CEO of Odgers Berndtson in Canada. “Offering a seasoned global business perspective with a strong digital and technology background, he understands what’s needed to compete in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing environment.”

Mr. Gaffney stressed that this is a challenging time for leaders. “The talent agenda is being prioritized more than ever before at the board level,” he said. “Having a robust talent and succession plan in place is an imperative for companies undergoing significant change.”

Mr. Gaffney is a member of the board at President’s Choice Bank and the Altus Group. He has previously served on the boards of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the Bishop Strachan School, Crescent School, Canada’s Walk of Fame and the United Way Cabinet.

Expansion Wave

Odgers Berndtson has seen a wave of growth this year. Recently, it opened a new office in Dublin. The move was made to enhance the firm’s capacity to support global companies looking to establish new centers of operation in Europe in readiness for Brexit, according to Odgers. The new location is led by Damian Ringwood, who becomes managing partner, Odgers Berndtson Dublin.

In November, Odgers added Susannah Crabtree as partner and head of its Ottawa office. She specializes in the recruitment of senior executives in the Ottawa market, with a focus on the public and not-for-profit sectors. She is also a key member of Odgers Berndtson’s leadership practice, helping clients assess and develop their leadership teams, succession plans and high-potential talent. Ms. Crabtree previously served as Ottawa office leader for Mercer Canada.


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In September, Odgers acquired the former Boyden licensee in Washington, D.C., adding five people to the firm, including Tim McNamara and Derek Wilkinson, former Boyden partners with more than 45 years’ combined management consulting and recruiting experience. Judy Whitaker, Diana Farmer and Kelly Crittenden, also from the Boyden licensee, will be joining the Washington, D.C. office. Allen Reed, a partner in Odgers Berndtson’s healthcare & life sciences practice, is now based in the new office as well, along with Richard Modecki, a principal in the technology and aerospace & defense sector.

Also in September, the firm opened a new office in Washington, D.C. when it acquired the former Boyden licensee in the region. The acquisition added five people to the firm, including Tim McNamara and Derek Wilkinson, former Boyden partners with more than 45 years of combined management consulting and recruiting experience.

In July, Odgers opened an office in Minneapolis and added three search professionals:  Ron Woessner, Chris Fryer and Shawn Woessner. Mr. Woessner began his search career as founder and CEO of Woessner & Associates in 1983.  In 2010, he merged his practice into DHR International, where he served as global leader of its chief financial officer practice. He then joined Allen Austin, where he served as managing partner, global financial officer practice. Mr. Fryer previously served as managing partner of the industrial practice at Allen Austin. Mr. Woessner, who is head of U.S. finance for Odgers, had been a managing partner at Allen Austin, where he was responsible for the firm’s global financial officer practice.

In May, the firm added Lisa Hooker as a partner and Jessica French as a principal. Ms. Hooker, who serves clients in the technology practice, brings 20-plus years of executive search expertise in telecommunications, consumer electronics, cloud services, cyber security, IoT and SaaS. She has also conducted assignments for venture capital and private equity firms, recruiting for their portfolio companies. Previously, she was a founding partner at BridgeStreet Partners Executive Search. Dr. French serves clients in the higher education and academic medicine sectors. She specializes in search for senior leaders in research universities and academic medical centers. She was previously a senior associate with Korn Ferry in the firm’s healthcare practice.

In April, Odgers Berndtson added Lisa DeConto, Jane Swan and Brad Pierce. Ms. DeConto joined the firm as a partner and serves clients in the financial services sector. She had been a senior member of the asset and wealth management practice at Russell Reynolds Associates. Ms. Swan became a partner and head of Odgers Berndtson’s U.S. wealth management practice. Before joining the firm, she headed the wealth management practices at Sheffield Haworth, Korn Ferry and Heidrick & Struggles. Mr. Pierce was named a partner and serves clients in the international consulting and professional services sector, where he has 17-plus years’ experience. He previously founded a boutique search firm, in addition to earlier roles with Korn Ferry, Russell Reynolds Associates and Heidrick & Struggles.

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

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