September 13, 2017 – Executive search firm SRi has named Ashling O’Connor as a partner and leader of the media, content and digital practice in EMEA. Her focus will be to continue SRi’s work in these areas, while ensuring that the growing links between the disciplines are developed in a global context. She will work with partners in the U.S. and Asia on senior-level international assignments.
Since leaving journalism in 2014, Ms. O’Connor has advised on senior executive and board appointments globally for content-driven companies including FTSE100, FTSE250, Fortune 500, family-owned and private equity-backed businesses. She joins SRi from media and entertainment-focused search boutique Inzito Partnership.
“Ashling will play a key role in moving our sector coverage beyond sport in the U.K. and Europe,” said Jim Chaplin, CEO of SRi. “Not only is there obvious connectivity with the historical SRiCheyenne track record, especially in the US, but there is also great cross over with our practice areas, expertise and client lists.
“Ashling’s sporting contacts built up over 10 years at the Times, including four as London 2012 Olympics correspondent, means that she has a very good understanding of the SRi business and has strong links at the highest levels in U.K. sport and international federations,” he said. “She will be a huge asset.”
Ms. O’Connor said the convergence of media and sports, with which she is more than familiar, is now everywhere. “Sport franchises are recasting themselves as media companies, phone makers are the new content distributors and tech giants the emerging partners for premium rights holders,” she said. “The disruption is constant and clients need specialist advisers agile enough to keep pace. I believe SRi is perfectly positioned. I have watched Jim and the team with growing admiration as they have expanded and broadened the business.”
“The merger with The Cheyenne Group this year opened the U.S. market and has created a genuinely global, partner-led search firm with exciting growth plans in the most vibrant, ambitious and creative sectors,” Ms. O’Connor added. “I am looking forward to working with talented people I respect and a company whose ambition and vision I instinctively relate to.”
SRi is an international executive search firm focused on the sports, media and entertainment sectors. It has wholly-owned offices in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.
The firm has worked with some of the biggest brand names in media and sport to secure top talent over the course of its 20-year history. Among them: HBO, BSkyB, IMG Media, News Corp, Harvard Business Review, Taunton Press, F+W, Visible World, National Geographic, Andrews McMeel Publishing, Sunset + Vine, BBC America, Univision, Huffington Post, World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union, England and Wales Cricket Board, Wasserman, ESPN, Lagadere, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, BT Sport and the NBA.
SRi’s clients include international rights holders, professional clubs & teams, international federations, governing bodies, corporate sponsors, venues, major events, broadcasters, media owners, agencies and sporting goods brands.
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Newly Combined Firm
SRiCheyenne was recently launched following the merger of the U.S.-based media and content recruitment provider, Cheyenne Group, and UK-headquartered SRi (formerly Sports Recruitment International). “This merger is a significant landmark in the history of the firm and gives us a strong platform to grow the business in new markets and sectors,” said Mr. Chaplin. “The convergence of media, sports and entertainment continues to move at a rapid pace with an increasing transfer of talent between industries globally. The combination of SRi and he Cheyenne Group allows us to build an even more formidable offering and we can’t wait to get started.”
SRiCheyenne recently named Jay Hussey as CEO, taking over for founder Pat Mastandrea, who has moved into a new role at the firm as vice chairman. Mr. Hussey boasts of more than 15 years in executive search with leading global recruiting firms. He joined SRiCheyenne from Odgers Berndtson where he led the firm’s U.S. technology and digital transformation practices.
SRiCheyenne is well positioned to address a rapidly evolving global marketplace that demands executive leaders who can navigate new digital and data-driven business models and consumer platforms, said Ms. Mastandrea. “Jay’s experience in digital and technology, both as a business leader and as an executive search professional, gives us even stronger capabilities with which to help our clients.”
An Expansive Field
The sports & entertainment field is one of the most rapidly growing sectors in executive search, with many C-suite-focused recruiting firms having been drawn to it as of late. Some specialize only in sports, but all are dedicated to providing sports-related executive search and leadership advisory services. In addition to SRi, they include: Turnkey, Nolan Partners, CarrSports Consulting, Korn Ferry, Harvard Group International, Prodigy Sports, Marquee Search, DHR International, Hartmann Mason, College Sports Solutions, Egon Zehnder, Heidrick & Struggles, Ascension Sports Partners, Russell Reynolds Associates, Diversified Search, Odgers Berndtson, Eastman & Beaudine, Alden Associates, Parker Executive Search, Neinas Sports Services and Collegiate Sports Associates.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media