Pearson Partners Finds First Chief Innovation Officer for Dallas Area Rapid Transit

July 25, 2019 – Dallas-headquartered executive search firm Pearson Partners International has recruited Gregory Elsborg as vice president and first chief innovation officer of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). Vice president Lisa Thompson led the assignment.

Mr. Elsborg brings a strong record of driving E-commerce, mobile and innovation initiatives across a variety of industries. He has held global and Fortune 500 leadership roles in digital innovation and brand strategy. After a successful career in the U.K., including general management and marketing leadership roles in the transit industry, he relocated to the U.S. in 2011 to follow career opportunities with Rexel, Allied Electronics & Automation, GameStop and Mouser Electronics.

Mr. Elsborg said the DART position was one he simply could not pass up. “Operating the longest light rail network in the nation, DART is a market leader in the public transit sector with a strong brand and is uniquely positioned to bring a variety of new innovation initiatives to the rapidly changing public transit sector,” he said. “Coupled with a strong internal talent pool. DART is positioned to rapidly scale innovation initiatives, and I am tremendously excited to lead activities in this newly created role.”

As chief innovation officer, Mr. Elsborg has accountability for product management, business strategy and serving as an innovation ambassador throughout and external to the agency, said Pearson Partners International. He is charged with examining ideas and emerging technologies to determine feasibility. Mr. Elsborg will also partner with the chief information/technology officer, chief marketing officer, vice president of service planning and other executives to operationalize viable projects.

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit is a sub-regional transit agency that was created in 1983 and funded primarily through local sales and use tax within the 13-city service area. The agency provides bus, light rail, commuter rail, paratransit and vanpool services.

Veteran Search Consultants

Established in 2002, Pearson Partners is a full-service retained executive search firm, securing top talent for positions that range from CEOs and CFOs to CIOs, board members and senior executives. Its clients include Fortune 1000 companies, private equity firms and emerging businesses.

Ms. Thompson has skills in business management and as a licensed and certified executive coach, career consultant and counselor. She works with individuals and corporations, providing management consulting, organizational and team assessments, executive coaching, career coaching and succession planning services. Combining her corporate background with experience in mental health and psychology, as well as specialized training in coaching and counseling, Ms. Thompson addresses organizational and human development needs with a practical and holistic approach. Before joining Pearson Partners, she was senior managing director for Spherion’s human capital consulting group in Dallas/Fort Worth.

New Officer Level Roles

A handful of new C-suite titles have been cropping up at businesses around the globe, according to leading search consultants. A recent report by Odgers Berndtson found that executives climbing the corporate ladder are in hot pursuit of titles that include the words “chief” and “officer.” Among them: chief happiness officer, chief privacy officer, chief people officer, chief digital officer, chief knowledge officer, chief customer officer, chief luminary officer, chief innovation officer and chief observance officer.

Kodak and Dell a few years ago appointed chief listeners; Facebook has chief privacy officers; Microsoft has a chief people officer; Coca-Cola has a chief quality and product integrity officer. Steve Jobs called himself chief know-all.

Here is an overview of unique officer-level positions being filled by leading recruitment firms from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

Toronto-based executive search firm Caldwell recruited Dinesh Goyal as chief credit officer at OneMain Financial in New York. Paul Heller, managing partner of the firm’s global financial services practice, led the assignment along with partner Rich Perkey. In his new role, Mr. Goyal is responsible for managing credit, pricing, direct mail and digital marketing, and operational analytics.

The Onstott Group placed Christina Van Houten as chief strategy officer of Mimecast Limited, an email and data security company. Managing director Scott Tucker led the assignment. Ms. Van Houten is charged with driving corporate development, product management and market strategy as part of building out Mimecast’s email security, archive and cyber resilience cloud platform.

Beverly Hills, CA-based executive recruitment firm Ventura Partners has placed Courtney Gruber as the new chief retail officer for drybar, a blowout hair salon chain. Ventura founder and partner Julie Ford led the search. The chief retail officer role, more commonly known as vice president of retail, encompasses running all retail operations.

Freehold, NJ-based Prodigy Sports, a nationwide leader in top-level sports recruiting, has placed Gord Lang as chief growth officer with Engine Shop. Founder and chief executive officer Scott Carmichael led the search. Mr. Lang had been chief growth officer at Octagon Marketing, which he joined in 2001.

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

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