October 7, 2021 – Haddonfield, NJ-based True, a global executive talent management platform, has announced key leadership changes designed to support the firm’s rapidly growing business units.
Josh Withers, a co-founder of the organization, moves into the newly created role of managing director, platform; Shawn Thorne, former co-lead of the product, data and technology practice, succeeds Mr. Withers as GM, Americas; partner Ariele Fleming succeeds Mr. Thorne to co-lead the product, data and technology practice; partner Sophia Mowla takes over as co-lead of True’s healthcare and life sciences practice; and partner Aaron Rouza becomes co-lead for True’s finance practice.
In his new role, Mr. Withers will help create, implement, and promote new business initiatives across True’s range of products and services. He will also help True clients solve their business problems with tailored solutions that address their unique executive talent needs. And Mr. Withers will continue conducting select CEO and board searches as well.
“Now more than ever, talent owners have complex problems to solve and they need tailored solutions to keep their business moving forward,” said Brad Stadler, co-CEO and True co-founder. “We believe executive talent management should combine technology with services to help companies stay ahead. Josh will assess our clients’ needs and create high-impact solutions to enable them to do that.”
Mr. Withers helped co-found True because he recognized his clients needed a firm focused on transparency, data, and a collaborative approach, said the firm. He believes in building strong relationships with up-and-coming talent, and with established leaders in today’s disruptive technology companies.
“As a co-founder, Josh understands True’s vision to disrupt the stale executive search business with a fresh approach and innovative talent management tools,” said Joe Riggione, co-CEO and True co-founder. “He’s helped build so much here already. I’m excited to harness his energy across the platform to help True define the future of executive recruiting.”
Mr. Thorne will manage all operational areas at True Search, including training, technology, marketing, finance, and talent acquisition. He has a doctorate in materials, science and engineering from UC Berkeley and an MBA from London Business School. Mr. Thorne has experience running operations and grant research at a start-up, and a decade in global scientific research and technology management. He steps into his new role after five years of leadership at True.
Ms. Fleming has over a decade of executive search experience. She has been instrumental in shaping True’s PDT practice and driving its success from the beginning, said the firm.
Ms. Mowla is a published scientist and was nominated for the European science engineering and technology awards for her discovery of novel anti-cancer and anti-ageing therapeutic targets. She also won an MRC-funded scholarship in translational oncology at Imperial College London. Ms. Mowla has been a mentor to her colleagues, True said, and an invaluable leader in her practice.
Mr. Rouza joined True as one of the finance practice’s first dedicated search professionals and has since developed a reputation for leading CFO engagements nationwide. He has established himself as a leader known for developing others across the firm. Mr. Rouza also has past experience as a talent acquisition lead in Silicon Valley. He will succeed partner Rhoda Longhenry, CFO expert-recruiter, who will step down from her role as co-lead to return to search work full time.
Working in both the private and public sectors, True has offices throughout the U.S. as well as the EMEA and APAC regions. Since the late 1990s, the firm’s founders have refined their search process with a blend of data-centric insights, relationship-building, and experience to produce a methodology that consistently improves hiring decisions and accelerates growth. True Search is a subsidiary of True Platform, a global portfolio of human capital services and products for high-growth tech and tech-enabled organizations. True placed No. 7 on a recent Hunt Scanlon Media “Top 50 Recruiters” ranking.
A New Amsterdam Office
Last month, True opened a new office in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This region, which includes Belgium and Luxembourg, is a start-up area on the rise — with a booming tech scene and a growing need for tech-enabled global talent that’s at the heart of True’s expertise. “Expansion to Amsterdam is a natural step forward as we expand our capabilities and connections in the world’s technology centers,” said Mr. Riggione. “Amsterdam has big ambitions and the third-largest start-up sector in Europe. Companies there need access to world-class leadership to ensure they can compete and win globally.”
LLR Partners, a private equity firm based in Philadelphia, has made an investment in True. The new partnership is aimed at developing and expanding innovation within the talent space. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. True surpassed $100 million in revenues in 2019 and added 146 people during the pandemic. True has consistently been the fastest organic growth mid-sized search firm over the last decade.
David Reuter, a partner at LLR, joins True’s board of directors alongside Nick Caldwell, vice president of engineering at Twitter; Jennifer Ceran, CFO of Smartsheet; Alex Shootman, CEO of Adobe company platform Workfront; and Evan Wittenberg, EVP and chief people officer at Ancestry. Following the minority stake investment, True co-founders Brad Stadler and Joe Riggione will continue to lead the firm with support and guidance from its board. True’s valuation was said to have been an outlier, reflecting the private equity firm’s belief that True has the potential to become one of the most significant brands in the executive talent sector. Notably, the deal is structured to grant employee participation in value creation over time.
The Amsterdam office expands True’s footprint in EMEA, where True already has a physical presence in London, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, and Dubai. It will be True’s 17th office worldwide. True enters Amsterdam with strong relationships already in place with companies including Mollie, Otrium and WeTransfer, and funds such as Accel, Sequoia and Index. Opportunities across the region are escalating as billions of dollars in VC capital has been invested in Amsterdam alone this year.
Veteran search consultant Uros Zver will lead the Amsterdam team. Mr. Zver has deep connections to the VC and PE market along with relationships with fintech and enterprise businesses throughout Europe. He has lived and worked in 10 countries across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has expertise in helping technology companies scale and find international talent. He also draws on a background in international relations, having worked at the United Nations and for the NATO Alliance. Previously, Mr. Zver was a partner with Apollo Executive Search.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media