ZRG Partners Expands Financial Services Practice

December 10, 2019 – ZRG Partners, one of the fastest growing executive search firms, has expanded with the addition of Michael Castine to its financial services practice. He will be based in New York City.

Mr. Castine brings 30 years of executive search experience to the firm. Previously, he was a partner with Ridgeway Partners for the past six years. He was also a co-head of Spencer Stuart’s global financial services practice for nearly a decade and chairman of Korn Ferry’s global asset and wealth management practice for five years. Before his executive search career, he worked in the White House as the director, international communications and information for the National Security Council, and as deputy director, private sector initiatives, after graduating from Harvard.

“Michael adds tremendous value to our financial services team with his experience that extends across senior asset and wealth management executives, private equity, family office, board placement, and succession planning,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG Partners. “As a financial services specialist for over thirty years, Michael has an evolved understanding of the state of recruiting, hiring, developments, compensation, and trends within the industry. We are thrilled to add Michael to our team at this exciting time of growth and expansion for the firm.”

“I am excited to be a part of the team here at ZRG,” said Mr. Castine. “Their highly collaborative culture and mix of industry and functional specialists complement my expertise and create the perfect platform to better serve all of our clients.”

“I have worked with many members of the ZRG team in past firms which will allow seamless collaboration with clients,” he said. “I was attracted to ZRG by the proprietary data-driven tools that are truly redefining how an executive search is done. I am looking forward to the opportunity of delivering better outcomes for clients because of it.”

Recent Funding . . .  and Acquisition Activity

In November, ZRG acquired Toft Group, a smaller rival focused on the life sciences and biotech sectors. Toft Group will operate as a ZRG company, focused on supporting client needs for senior life science professionals. The acquisition will add depth to the existing global life sciences practice at ZRG. The transaction will add about $10 million in annual revenues to ZRG and bolster the firm’s direct presence in the global life science sector in which it maintains a strong market presence in the top tier pharma space. With this acquisition, ZRG will report revenues anticipated to exceed $65 million in 2019 and will have over 200 global team members supporting clients across a number of industry and functional disciplines. Robin Toft, founder and chair of the Toft Group, will continue in her role with the firm where she will build out the platform and help with growth at ZRG as a senior leader.

The purchase of Toft Group marked ZRG’s fourth acquisition this year for the growing search firm following the completion of a recapitalization with RFE Investment Partners, a lower middle-market private equity firm with a long history of investing in growth companies.

Michael Rubel, managing director at RFE Investment Partners, said his firm is convinced that the human capital services market is ripe for disruption – and fresh thinking. “We are convinced that ZRG Partners is approaching the market with the right blend of experience, leadership and disruptive technology which clearly is resonating with clients who want to acquire top talent globally,” he said. “We also believe that our firm is uniquely positioned to assist Larry and the ZRG team in expanding ZRG’s service offerings and helping fulfill their vision as a significant provider of human capital services through continued hiring, key acquisitions and add-on investments.”

Growth via Acquisition

Here is an abridged overview of the firm’s growth from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:

In July, ZRG acquired London-headquartered search firm Holker Watkin. The firm now operate as a ZRG company, focused on supporting client needs for senior-level strategy professionals on a retained and interim project basis. The transaction is expected to add $11 million in annual global revenues to ZRG and bolster ZRG’s direct presence in Europe. Holker Watkin president and founder Justin Holker continues in his role leading the business.

Two Recruitment Leaders Discuss the Anatomy of a Merger

ZRG Partners has continued its expansion efforts by acquiring Toft Group, a smaller rival focused on the life sciences and biotech sectors. Larry Hartmann, ZRG CEO, and Robin Toft, founder and chair of Toft Group, take time out to discuss their cultures, their views of executive search and their partnership. Let’s meet the leaders behind the latest deal.

“Holker Watkin has built a sector-leading brand and a stellar track record working with top tier consulting professionals with strategy and transformation experience,” said Mr. Hartmann. “The business has been successfully partnering with private equity firms and global multinationals in the search of high-level strategy and transformation talent for senior-level roles and interim assignments.”

In June, the firm acquired certain assets of executive search firm Fiore Global Search. As part of the asset acquisition agreement, Adam Fiore, formerly the managing partner and CEO of Fiore Global Search, joined ZRG as a managing director within its life sciences practice area. Fiore Global Search was founded by Mr. Fiore in 2011 and has completed hundreds of C-suite, VP, and medical director roles for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical and mid-sized, global biotechnology companies.

“Adam and his team have strong expertise in the drug safety and pharmacovigilance areas, which will be leveraged within our global life science practice,” said Mr. Hartmann. “We have been impressed with how Fiore Global has built entire drug safety teams for several top global pharmaceutical companies, including Novartis and Bristol Myers-Squibb. He will be an important part of our global practice in life sciences and adding this area of expertise is quite exciting for us.”

In May, ZRG acquired certain assets of Dowd Associates, an executive search firm focused on the financial officer’s space. As part of the asset purchase agreement, Dowd Associates’ president and CEO Rich Dowd joined ZRG as a managing director. Mr. Dowd has over 20 years of experience in executive search. In addition to being a known subject-matter expert in treasury search, he also has deep experience in VPs of finance, controller and CFO search work. He becomes a member of ZRG’s financial officer’s practice.

“With Rich on board, we now have additional specialty expertise to support our clients,” said Mr. Hartmann. “We have an experienced team already focused on the CFO function and adding Rich allows us to not only recruit CFOs but help them be more successful by attracting the right talent in this critical function.”

“We are excited about the next chapters of growth for ZRG as we continue our ascent to becoming an even more significant player in the global executive search market and broadening our offering to other areas of human capital services,” said Mr. Hartmann. “Our data-driven approach to human capital and our commitment to delivering seamless services around the globe with our highly collaborative team have been pillars in our growth strategy.”

Mr. Hartmann said he is looking forward to continuing his firm’s growth now that he’s found an investor “that has significant capital to invest behind our proven core growth strategy in tandem with looking at strategic acquisitions to broaden our talent offerings.”

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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