January 29, 2019 – Acquisitions continue to make big news in the executive search industry. The latest: New York-based search firm Solomon Page has acquired retail specialists E.A. Hughes & Co. Financial terms of deal were undisclosed.
“We’ve done about four acquisitions over our 28-year history, in healthcare executive search, the publishing search space, in the legal staffing world and technology,” said Lloyd Solomon, a founding partner and managing director of Solomon Page. “E.A. Hughes really extends our reach in the fashion retail consumer goods space and becomes a division. They retain their group, and operate autonomously and collaboratively with our existing fashion team.”
“Our primary driver of growth historically has been organic,” said Mr. Solomon. “We attract experienced people, add to the team and build our service offerings. But selectively, when we see something we consider unique and special and circumstances coincide, we will do an acquisition and incorporate their team into ours to create a bigger family and better services for clients.”
Mr. Solomon added that E.A. Hughes’ expertise in C-suite searches complements Solomon Page’s strength in full-time recruitment and freelance hiring, providing Solomon Page with a “broader” approach.
The E.A. Hughes team of eight will continue to be led by Elaine Hughes, who founded the firm in 1991. The boutique executive search firm, headquartered in New York City, has been serving the retail, apparel, footwear, beauty, home and e-commerce sectors, among others.
Ms. Hughes will now report to Mr. Solomon, and joins Solomon Page’s fashion and beauty division, which is headed by managing directors Patty Hoban Scott and Sue Lamoreaux.
“Elaine has influenced the careers of many senior executives in retail and fashion and advocated for women in the industry by example and involvement in many organizations during the past three decades,” said Ms. Lamoreaux.
She added that Ms. Hughes underscored the “synergies accomplished by combining the two firms, and that the deal gives Solomon Page a broader scope of talent acquisition encompassing C-suite executive search, mid-level searches, as well as staff jobs such as sales associates.”
Ms. Hughes said inadequate search is a big factor behind the industry’s high rate turnover at the C-suite level. “Many search firms neglect conducting the proper deep dive into the candidate’s functional talents, experience and E.Q. to determine whether he or she is a good fit for the organization doing the recruiting and its culture,” she said. “No one really assesses it all.”
“In the ever-evolving landscape of human capital and business models, our goal is to adapt to shifts in the marketplace and create a multifaceted approach to our clients,” Mr. Solomon said.
New York-based Solomon Page, founded in 1990, has 275 employees, 10 offices in the U.S., and one in London. Scott Page is also a founding partner of the company and managing director.
Recent M&A activity
Acquisitions have kept the executive search industry in a state of flux. Here’s a sampling of recent acquisitions taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
Non-profit search specialist Koya Leadership Partners acquired Commongood Careers, which specializes in recruiting leaders nationwide for organizations committed to social impact. The acquisition also enables Koya to partner with talent across the career lifespan.
StevenDouglas has acquired Tallience, a full-service technology search, staffing and consulting firm located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. As part of the acquisition, founding partner Tim Baron is joining Sunrise, FL-based StevenDouglas as managing director of its Washington, D.C. metro office.
London-headquartered Marlin Hawk has acquired Winter Circle, the invitation-only digital network for senior executives. The two firms will create the Marlin Hawk Group which will provide an array of talent solutions to help empower internal executive search teams through technology.
London-based Sheffield Haworth acquired Gillamor Stephens, a digital and technology sector recruiting specialist. The firm’s work focuses on hiring board-level executives for both publicly listed and venture capital/private equity backed technology businesses in the U.K. and across Europe.
ZRG Partners acquired certain assets of the Epsen Fuller Group. As part of the agreement, Thomas Fuller, formerly the managing partner and CEO of Epsen Fuller Group, is joining ZRG as managing director & global practice leader for the firm’s consumer sector.
McDermott & Bull has acquired Denver-based Prime-Core Executive Search. Ken Dropiewski, as a result, joins the firm as a principal consultant in the sciences group, specializing in the med-tech space. “The addition of Ken to our firm is a huge win for McDermott & Bull,” said CEO Rod McDermott.
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