December 7, 2021 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has acquired boutique strategy consulting firm Brimstone Consulting Group LLC. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The complementary nature of our businesses made Brimstone an obvious partner for ZRG, as we continue to expand our portfolio of talent advisory solutions,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “Further ensuring a new CEO is successful with the proven process of Brimstone will create a new paradigm for CEO transitions.”
“We are pleased that we can now address two critical areas of leadership to align success for our clients with both strategy work and culture work. We believe when a company aligns strategy and culture with the right talent, amazing success can be achieved, and our offerings now address these three core areas,” Mr. Hartmann said.
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.
“ZRG’s commitment to their clients and their innovative approach to data analytics are an immediate fit with Brimstone’s own values and action-oriented nature,” said Bob Weiler, founding partner of Brimstone. “Their expertise in executive search and our expertise in leadership consulting and transformation—along with both firms’ focus on clients—really make this an incredible match. We are thrilled to add deep culture consulting expertise as well, as the natural next step of the work we do with aligning strategy with our clients. “
Mr. Weiler partners with CEOs and their leadership teams on large-scale change initiatives. Much of his work focuses on advising CEOs and C-suite executives on methods to address short- and long-term results, while simultaneously achieving alignment and developing leaders. Before launching Brimstone, Mr. Weiler was president and CEO of Grand Circle Travel, a provider of direct marketing of travel to mature Americans.
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.
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.”
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.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media