ZRG Acquires Ignata Finance Group in the U.K.

March 6, 2024 – ZRG, a global talent advisory firm and portfolio company of RFE Investment Partners, has acquired Ignata Finance Group, a U.K.-based executive search & finance recruitment and interim placement business. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Partnering with Ignata will enable our European growth strategy both in private equity but across our shared global customers, especially in the U.K.,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “Adding Ignata to the family of ZRG companies puts us another step closer to true global talent advisory.”

Founded in 2017, Ignata partners with VC, PE, and listed organizations seeking chief financial officers and their teams. “We continue our commitment to build a world-class business, employing passionate consultants that are experts in their fields. The partnership with ZRG marks a pivotal moment in our global expansion,” said Ben Searls, founder of Ignata. “By joining forces with ZRG, we are not only enhancing our C-suite capabilities but also broadening our reach internationally.”

Launched in 2017, Mr. Searls quickly added his wife, Vikki (to run the Interim practice) and biggest competitor, Steve Revill as co-founders & equity partners. Backed by private equity firm, Hamilton Bradshaw, Ignata Finance is focused on a diverse array of sectors, both within the U.K. and in Europe, encompassing listed companies, private equity, and venture capital-backed enterprises, as well as high-growth start-ups and owner-managed firms. The firm has a focus on retail, e-commerce, FMCG, technology, leisure, hospitality, professional services, industrial, renewable energy, telecoms, property, construction, facilities management, and oil & gas.

The Ignata opportunity came from within James Caan’s Recruitment Entrepreneur investment portfolio which helps entrepreneurs scale recruiting businesses. The sale to ZRG is another example of an entrepreneur coming through Mr. Caan’s stable, which has achieved an outstanding result in creating an amazing business that is now embarking on its next chapter. “We are really proud of what Ignata has achieved and wish them every success within ZRG,” said Mr. Caan.

In 2021, Mr. Caan made a personal seven-figure investment in ZRG. Mr. Caan is considered a leading recruitment entrepreneur, having founded and exited talent solutions company Alexander Mann Solutions, and Humana International, which he grew to 147 offices across 30 countries.

Related: ZRG Acquires Turnkey Search

ZRG, founded in 1999, is a mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services, and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology. ZRG is based in Rochelle Park, NJ.

Past Acquisitions

ZRG recently acquired The Registry, a Peabody, MA-based interim executive solutions firm specializing in higher education. “The Registry is the nation’s top firm providing the best-matched interim solutions to institutions of higher learning, especially colleges and universities that are going through challenging transitions,” said Mr. Hartmann. “Adding The Registry to the family of ZRG companies puts us in a leadership position in providing talent solutions in higher education.”

ZRG Closes Secondary Equity Investment
ZRG has secured a new secondary equity investment from a consortium of new and existing institutional investors led by Timber Bay Partners. “We see tremendous opportunity to acquire great businesses in the recruiting and talent advisory areas that will augment our organic growth across all of our business lines,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “The new equity capital and expanded credit facility provide ample dry powder for our organic and acquisition growth plans. Additionally, we will continue to invest in our disruptive Zi technology platform and grow our interim and consulting businesses in tandem with our core executive recruiting deliverables.” This new capital will accelerate ZRG’s acquisition and hiring efforts as the company continues to build-out a full suite of offerings to help clients solve people problems.

Since 1992, The Registry has helped colleges and universities across the U.S. and abroad during times of transition with experienced and diverse interim leaders. The firm has recorded 1,200 placements at over 500 institutions of all types. In 2002, Dr. Carlson and Mr. Matthews founded Collegiate Enterprise Solutions (CES) LLC, at which time they acquired The Registry for College and University Presidents. Since that time, Dr. Carlson has served as president of The Registry. Under the leadership of Dr. Carlson and Mr. Matthews as chancellor, The Registry has experienced sustained growth and expansion. Today, with a membership of 1,000-plus, The Registry continues to be a top firm in the interim executive space in higher education.

Prior to The Registry acquisition, ZRG diversified its talent management offerings in the past two years. In June, ZRG acquired Helbling, a national executive search firm with relationships among construction contractors and real estate developers. Last December, the firm acquired Hub Recruiting, a boutique recruiting process outsourcing (RPO) firm. In November, ZRG purchased SEBA International, a retained executive search firm focused on finance, risk, marketing, and revenue roles. In April of last year, the firm acquired RoseRyan, a Silicon Valley-based provider of finance and accounting consulting solutions. Also that month, ZRG added Terra Search Partners, a retained executive search firm exclusive to the real estate industry.

Related: ZRG Acquires Walking the Talk

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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