Odgers Berndtson Appoints CEO
April 12, 2023 – Executive search firm 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. Pottier, 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.”
“We are excited about the future of Odgers Berndtson U.S. and believe, with the smooth transition of Kennon to CEO and Steve as an active board member, we have the leadership to take our firm to even greater heights as one of the premium global executive search firms in the world,” said Kester Scrope, group CEO of Odgers Berndtson.
“I feel privileged to have been able to serve as the CEO of Odgers Berndtson U.S. for the last 12 years, and I’m enormously proud of what we have achieved,” said Mr. Potter. “Kennon is well-equipped and ready for the opportunities and challenges that lay ahead, and I’m pleased to be able to hand the baton to one of our own. I will continue to support the success of the brand from my role on the board and am excited to see the next chapter of the firm’s story unfold.”
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. He serves on the firm’s board of directors as well as its global advisory board. Prior to joining Odgers, Mr. Kincaid served as a diplomat, advancing the interests of the U.S. and its allies across Europe, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. Subsequently, he joined Rocket Lab, a leading aerospace company and launch service provider, where he established and led international business development, security operations, and government relations.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead Odgers Berndtson’s business in the U.S.,” Mr. Kincaid said. “Ours is a business with staying power, unmatched tenacity, and a world-class team. Steve’s leadership and entrepreneurial spirit have set us up for tremendous scale and impact, and I look forward to working with our team to realize continued innovation and growth for our clients.”
“I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to Steve for all he has done in building, leading, and shaping this firm,” he said. “The months and years ahead are full of opportunity, and I am excited to build on the foundation Steve has laid to further strengthen our position as an innovative leader in executive search and leadership development.”
Odgers Berndtson delivers executive search, leadership assessment, and development strategies to organizations globally. The firm’s 250-plus partners cover more than 50 sectors and operate out of 59 offices in 29 countries. The U.S. wing of the firm launched in 2011 and has been one of the fastest growing search firms in the Americas. Odgers Berndtson has U.S. offices in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Houston, TX; Los Angeles; Minneapolis, MN; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.
Leadership Appointments Rising at Recruiting 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:
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.”
Boyden has named Chad Hesters as its president and CEO, effective immediately. He succeeds Trina Gordon, who retires after 12 years as CEO, three years as chair, and more than 30 years as a managing partner at the firm. “Our global search for a leader to succeed our highly successful retiring CEO, Trina Gordon, has led us to another global executive, Chad Hesters,” said Craig Stevens, chair. “He has worked in over 20 countries and brings a comprehensive track record leading a complex leadership advisory business. His hallmark is a keen understanding of strategy while remaining close to clients and their evolving needs.” “I would like to pay tribute to Trina Gordon for her inspirational, values-driven leadership,” said Mr. Stevens. “As the first female CEO of a global executive search firm, Trina blazed the way for women leaders in our industry. While other professional services firms have taken a top-down corporate approach to strategy.”
Oak Brook, IL-based search firm WittKieffer has named Christina Boiler as its chief operating officer. “Christina is well known for inspiring organizations to achieve excellence and meaningful change,” said Andrew Chastain, president and CEO of WittKieffer. “She brings a unique, diverse skill-set developed through previous senior leadership roles while possessing an eager willingness to explore new opportunities and embrace strategies that will ultimately help us to serve our clients better. Her expertise will be invaluable to WittKieffer. We couldn’t be more thrilled to have her join our firm’s leadership team.” Ms. Boiler has more than 15 years of leadership experience across operations, strategy, business development, and finance in market-leading consulting organizations. She was previously a partner and led the North American global mobility business for the global consulting firm Mercer.
ChampionScott Partners (CSP), which specializes in senior-level appointments for technology and technology-enabled companies, has appointed Doug Kaplan as managing director and president. “We’re thrilled Doug is joining ChampionScott Partners,” said Geoff Champion, CEO. “Having had the pleasure of supporting his success as a candidate and client, we’re confident that he’ll add great value to our team. Doug joins a team of professionals who’ve led businesses as CEOs, served on boards and as senior executives led transformative growth initiatives globally. Our valued added IP and advisory expertise in support of our clients has never been stronger.” Mr. Kaplan has worked with ChampionScott Partners for 20 years as a client and candidate. He joins CSP as a top leader for SaaS / PaaS / IaaS solutions in the Industry 4.0 / IoT industries, compliance, professional training and certification, and creative and digital staffing segments.
Global search firm H.I. Executive Consulting (HIEC) has named Stacey Mainiero as its CEO, based in New York. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Stacey to HIEC during an exciting period for the firm,” said chairman Michael Bornhaeusser. We are a fast-growing organization focused on delivering transformational leaders for our digital focused clients and Stacey’s skills and experience will prove invaluable as HIEC enters the next phase of its growth acceleration journey with expansion into new markets and territories. I wish Stacey every success in her new role.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media