ZRG Partners Acquire Walter James

December 21, 2021 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has acquired London-based executive search firm Walter James. “Supply chain talent has never been more important to the global economy than what we are experiencing today, and we don’t see the issue changing for years,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “Walter James brings an experienced team and a great leader with James Absalom to ZRG to address the talent issues in supply chain. James Absalom will be the functional global leader of supply chain for ZRG, and we aspire to build this practice into the absolute best specialist functional talent group in the world.”

Walter James serves the consumer/retail, life sciences and chemical industries across commercial and corporate functions with a particular focus and aptitude in supply chain management. The acquisition is expected to accelerate end-to-end support for ZRG clients globally and across all industries.

“The team at Walter James is excited to join ZRG Partners to support the global client base with our supply chain expertise,” said Mr. Absalom, managing partner and CEO of Walter James. “The 350 global team members at ZRG and the broad client base will provide us with additional opportunities to recruit top supply chain talent around the world. ZRG’s data driven approach to talent will resonate well with how organizations should consider making hiring decisions for supply chain leaders. We are looking forward to continuing to support our amazing clients with even more tools and resources and further expand our capabilities under the ZRG umbrella.”

“It is quite pleasing to see an entrepreneur like James Absalom, who we provided capital and support, execute a successful growth plan over the past seven years,” said James Caan, a board member at ZRG. “As an investor to Walter James, we felt the fit with ZRG and their global plans created an ideal partnership. I am thrilled that in my role as a board member of ZRG Partners, I can continue to watch and support the growth of Walter James and the team now under a much bigger platform.”

In acquiring Walter James, ZRG also inherits the Euromedica brand. Euromedica brings a 30-year history in the global life sciences space, expanding ZRG’s already substantial practice in this industry.

Fast Growing Firm

ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive 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 recently acquired boutique strategy consulting firm Brimstone Consulting Group LLC. Based in Camden, ME, Brimstone Consulting is a specialist consulting firm which partners with clients in building a strategy blueprint for rapid CEO success after leadership transitions. Brimstone’s methodology aligns leadership goals with business capabilities at all levels. The firm’s key focus areas include business acceleration; change enablement; culture change; executive coaching; leadership development; leadership team alignment; organizational alignment; diversity, equity and inclusion; and post-merger execution.

In July, ZRG acquired Walking the Talk, a consulting and advisory firm focused on culture transformation. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, based in Greenwich, Conn., facilitated the introduction and transaction between both organizations. Walking the Talk, headquartered in Amsterdam, specializes in enhancing performance results by aligning culture with strategy. Since the company was established 11 years ago, culture has landed firmly on the agenda of most executive teams and boards of directors. “Hiring top talent that aligns with a client’s culture objective has been a key success factor for ZRG,” said Mr. Hartmann. “With the addition of Walking the Talk, we will expand our consulting and talent solutions capabilities, helping our clients address challenging topics like change management and culture transformation.

In June, ZRG acquired Sucherman Group, a media and entertainment focused executive search firm. Founder Stuart Sucherman and CEO Erik Sorenson, both former media executives, will continue to lead the organization. “We are thrilled to add the premier team in the media space to the ZRG family,” said Mr. Hartmann. “They have built an incredible team and are content sector experts who bring clear value to every engagement. With our recent acquisition of Turnkey Sports, the boutique leader in the sports sector, adding the No. 1 boutique in media and entertainment broadens our market expertise and provides strong access to crossover talent in both areas.”

Recruiting Entrepreneur Makes Seven-Figure Investment in ZRG
ZRG, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has elected Hamilton Bradshaw CEO James Caan to its board of directors. Mr. Caan has made a personal seven-figure investment in the company. “We are thrilled to add James Caan to our board of directors,” said CEO Larry Hartmann. “He brings a global aspect to our board that is important as we continue our expansion. James will be a valuable resource to me in my role as CEO as someone who has successfully grown and scaled a global recruitment business. I look forward to his involvement in our future growth.”

The combination provides both organizations with access to new industries and products. Sucherman will adopt ZRG’s tech-enabled, data-driven approach to search — including its proprietary collaborative Zi platform and Z Score — enhancing the customized, hands-on approach for which the Sucherman team is known. Mr. Sorenson, a former president of MSNBC and former executive producer of the CBS Evening News, said: “Companies are navigating an increasingly complex environment in which people, culture and organizational design are more critical than ever to achieving business goals and managing business risk,” he said. “We are delighted to join with them to accelerate our collective growth in the media/entertainment space and beyond.”

Related: Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters

Earlier this year, ZRG made a major move into the sports, entertainment and media sectors by acquiring Turnkey Search. Renamed TurnkeyZRG, all Turnkey staff and assets have now merged into ZRG and the firm continues to be led by Len Perna, the founder, chairman, and CEO of the sports recruiting franchise. Turnkey is adopting ZRG’s tech-enabled, data-driven approach to the search process which it says will give the newly merged firm a competitive edge in the hunt for sports, media and entertainment talent. Mr. Hartmann called the deal a “blockbuster acquisition.”

Hunt Scanlon Ventures facilitated the introduction and transaction between ZRG and Turnkey, two perennial leaders in Hunt Scanlon’s rankings of executive search firms. “Len Perna built Turnkey into the most formidable sports recruiting brand in the nation,” said CEO Scott A. Scanlon at the time of the acquisition. “This combination allows ZRG to deliver its ‘Moneyball’ approach to sports and entertainment, using a proprietary Z Score ‘scorecard’ to leverage data and analytics into better hiring decisions,” he said. “Unlocking hidden value in talent and skills makes this the ultimate Moneyball team. It is a game-changer in sports and entertainment recruiting.”

Related: New State Capital Partners Takes Equity Stake in Klein Hersh

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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