November 16, 2023 – Global leadership advisory firm Russell Reynolds Associates has acquired Savage Partners, a boutique executive search firm that serves growth equity and private equity-backed software companies across North America. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Intrepid Investment Bankers acted as the strategic advisor to Russell Reynolds Associates in the transaction. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, a Connecticut-based human capital M&A advisory firm, served as the strategic advisor to Savage Partners. “Savage Partners is a trophy property and their acquisition by Russell Reynolds Associates will be beneficial to clients across the tech space as the sector continues to evolve with its insatiable demand for senior-level leadership talent,” said Scott A. Scanlon, CEO of Hunt Scanlon Ventures, based in Greenwich, Conn.
“Bringing Savage Partners on board will further deepen and enhance Russell Reynolds Associates’ core leadership advisory work and capabilities in growth-oriented technology companies,” said Constantine Alexandrakis, CEO of Russell Reynolds Associates. “Savage Partners’ colleagues bring unparalleled industry expertise, and under Todd Savage’s leadership, have established themselves as a powerhouse team. We look forward to combining our strengths and assets to provide industry-leading leadership and succession planning guidance.”
Savage Partners, founded in 2005, works with executives and investors across the technology industry. The Savage partners team will join Russell Reynolds’ Boston and Miami offices. Since co-founding the firm, Mr. Savage has completed over 200 senior executive searches for middle market, private equity-backed technology firms in infrastructure software, SaaS, eCommerce, consumer internet, and the mobile space. Previously, he worked for executive search firms Heidrick & Struggles and Ramsey Beirne Associates. Mr. Savage also built the internal recruiting function at Time Warner.
“Since its inception, Savage Partners has made its mark as a leading executive search firm specializing in partnering with growth equity-backed software companies, providing clients with sound advice based on the best information and insights available,” said Mr. Savage. “We share Russell Reynolds Associates’ quality-driven, execution-focused approach to client service. Taking this next step enables us to serve our clients globally and continue helping them make the best executive hiring decisions with an expanded team and infrastructure focused on collaborating and building deep relationships.”
The Savage Partners acquisition marks the third acquisition by Russell Reynolds Associates this year. In August, the firm acquired Kilberry, a leadership advisory firm based in Toronto that serves investors, CEOs, and C-suite leaders across North America. “Bringing Kilberry into the fold will further bolster RRA’s top-shelf leadership advisory capabilities with some of the most talented consultants in the sector,” said Mr. Alexandrakis at the time of the acquisition. “The entire Kilberry team will be a huge asset to RRA thanks to the rigor of their methodologies, the depth of their relationships, and the quality of their insights. We can’t wait to start working with them and bringing their expertise to our clients.”
Kilberry was founded more than 10 years ago by CEO Richard Davis, a licensed industrial-organizational psychologist. The firm’s services include executive assessment, CEO succession, executive coaching, top team effectiveness, and private equity advisory. Kilberry’s clients range from leading public companies to family businesses to private equity firms, as well as a roster of Fortune 100 firms and highly visible clients across the financial services, consumer, and sports industries. Its strong presence in Canada is a powerful lever to drive greater growth throughout this market.
Will the Surging M&A Market for Executive Search Firms Continue?
Acquisitions made big news in the recruiting industry this past year, and for good reason. Outside investors caught on to the sector’s expansion potential and long growth runway ahead. Top search leaders also found ways to maximize profit. That made them highly attractive to private equity firms seeking platforms they could accelerate, and scale. Top recruiters join Hunt Scanlon to share their perspectives.
Also in August, Russell Reynolds Associates acquired Nvolv, a boutique leadership consulting firm serving CEOs and C-suite executives of global businesses. Founded in 2017, Nvolv serves as a partner in enabling CEOs and executives to accelerate the development and transformation of individual leaders, their teams, and their wider organizations. Nvolv’s team bring more than 30 years of experience as thought leaders, change strategists, executive coaches, and process consultants, “this making the business a natural fit to complement RRA’s renowned leadership advisory services,” the search firm said.
“Our acquisition of Nvolv represents a powerful opportunity for us to bolster our client offerings and further strengthen our preeminent position as leaders in C-suite leadership advisory services,” said Mr. Alexandrakis when the acquisition was announced.
Related: TalentoHCM Acquires De Forest Search
Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 520-plus consultants in 47 offices work with public, private, and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.
The firm provides executive search services across all areas of the global media, entertainment, technology, and athletics markets. The firm’s consultants bring the experience and ability to assess competencies and cultural fit of board members, CEOs, senior functional leadership and players, with expertise in professional sports teams and leagues (CEOs, general managers, coaches and players); digital, media and entertainment; and technology-based start-ups.
Transitioning a Founder
The Savage Partners’ acquisition marks the second transaction spearheaded by Hunt Scanlon Ventures in the growth equity and PE-backed software recruiting space. Sixteen months ago, Hunt Scanlon served as an advisor to AEA Growth when it made a strategic investment into Bespoke Partners, a leading provider of executive search and leadership advisory services for enterprise software companies.
“That investment capped a period of unprecedented growth and service expansion for Bespoke Partners,” said Mr. Scanlon. “After celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021, Bespoke had grown to nearly 100 employees and had placed its 800th executive by the time we introduced AEA Growth to the firm. The time seemed right to begin a transition for the founder.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media