Riviera Partners Adds Veteran HR Executive

October 26, 2023 – San Francisco-based Riviera Partners, a recruitment provider specializing in C-level engineering, product, and design leader placements, has added Simon Gray as its newest partner to the EU region, based in London. “Simon brings experience from world-class companies, including Salesforce and Celonis, and has built relationships over many years due to the pride he takes in completing complex executive searches,” said Glenn Murphy, managing partner for Riviera Europe. “He has seen hypergrowth from the inside and will add a lot of value to Riviera, not just in Europe but across the globe.”

Mr. Gray has over 20 years of executive search experience hiring for pre-IPO ventures and large-scale publicly-listed technology providers. His expertise spans all functions with a specialty domain focus on hiring C/SVP/VP-level executives in product and engineering across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Mr. Gray most recently served as global head of executive talent acquisition for Celonis. In this role, he had the responsibility for the creation and execution of the executive hiring strategy.  Prior to this, Mr. Gray was head of international recruiting for Infoblox. His previously HR experience include senior roles with Cisco, Salesforce, and Nicholson. 

“This is an opportunity to join an incredible team of like-minded seasoned pros focused on identifying, engaging, and delivering senior leadership talent to tech-focused companies,” said Mr. Gray. “There’s no better time than now, especially as businesses are propelled by the wave of Generative AI and data acceleration.”

Riviera Partners’ EU team operates across the U.K., DACH, France, the Nordics, Benelux, Iberia, and Eastern Europe. Clients include Personio, Bumble, Beauty Pie, and Sorare.

Riviera Partners is a global recruiting firm specializing in the technology industry. The firm provides clients with optimal placements by combining recruiter interactions and experience with data-driven findings about candidates. Riviera Partners has recruited for key executive roles at Pinterest, Postmates, Tinder, Twilio, Uber, Asana, Dropbox, GitHub, DoorDash, Hulu, and partnered with venture-backed concerns, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, Benchmark, Accel, Menlo Ventures, KPCB, Greylock, and General Catalyst. Through machine learning algorithms, Riviera Partners identifies specialized, highly qualified candidates that fit an organization’s needs from 600,000 professionals across tech geographies. Riviera can often provide a short list of candidates in 30 days and has a success rate of over 95 percent.

Riviera Partners named Decio Mendes as its chief people officer. “Mendes’ enthusiasm for people, expertise in organizational development, and ability to instill a positive culture is a key part of Riviera’s growth,” said Will Hunsinger, CEO of Riviera Partners. “As we continue to scale, we must nurture a vibrant team environment that will inspire our team to bring out the best in themselves.” Mr. Mendes joins the organization from FLYN, a corporate development firm that he co-founded, which supports clients in developing breakthrough, innovative HR strategies, leadership development and talent management programs, and employee engagement approaches.

HR Leaders Transition to Recruiters

For CHROs, chief talent officers, and other C-suite HR executives, the crossover skills required in the search business are nearly identical, and Hunt Scanlon Media has recently tracked a number of successful transitions. We have taken note of the trend among top-ranking HR executives reestablishing themselves as executive recruiters. Here’s a look at some of the more prominent ones:

Paris-headquartered search firm Alexander Hughes has added three former HR executives with the appointments Roland Karsenty, Jorge Garabentos, and Guy Bernfeld as client partners. “It is with great pleasure that we expand our team of experts with these experienced specialists,” said Gérard Guilbert, managing director of Alexander Hughes Paris. “I am confident that their extensive and solid experience in the organization and development of HR strategies at the international level will provide our clients with a very high level of service.”

Denver-based executive search firm Z3Talent has expanded with the addition of talent acquisition veteran Ashley Parsons as a client partner. “Ashley has a record of success bringing best-in-class talent solutions and leaders to businesses in a diverse group of industries,” said Steve Ziegler, founder of Z3Talent. Ms. Parsons brings eight years of experience in executive search with a focus on the execution of assignments for private equity backed clients. She serves the technology, consumer products, financial services, real estate, and construction sectors.

Executive search firm Ducatus Partners has added decades of global human resources experience to its team with the addition of Gary McKinney as partner. “To support our clients at the very highest level, we pride ourselves on providing unparalleled insight,” said Allister Graham, managing partner at Ducatus. “Gary’s experience as an HR leader across multiple large energy organizations and private equity firms, as well as in solving complex talent challenges – both as a CHRO and as an advisor – perfectly equips him to do just that for our private equity and larger corporate clients. We are delighted to welcome him to our team and to our Houston (TX) office.” 

London-headquartered executive search firm Hedley May has added former Houlihan Lokey CHRO Janine Cristiano as a partner in New York. “We are delighted to expand Hedley May’s market presence in the U.S. and enhance our franchise,” said Laura McPhail, U.S. partner. “Janine adds specialized expertise to our platform that will provide our clients with fresh insight as they seek to develop world class HR functions.” Ms. Cristiano previously served as chief human resources officer at Houlihan Lokey, Ares Management, and Smith Barney, and as head of human resources for corporate groups at Ernst & Young.

Related: Signium Adds Former HR Executive in Dublin, Ireland

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


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