May 16, 2017 – ZRG Partners, the fastest growing search firm in the U.S., has opened an office in London, continuing on its massive expansion trajectory. Steve Banks will head the operation as managing director and U.K. country head, bringing a strong background to support the firm’s plans for the region. By the end of the year, ZRG expects to have a team of five managing directors in key market verticals in London to further support its expansion plans.
Mr. Banks is considered a highly-experienced search professional and business leader with more than 20 years spent in the U.K. search industry. He joins ZRG with a background that includes consumer, industrial and private-equity leadership. In addition to advising a wide range of corporate clients, he has considerable expertise in working with private companies and owner managed businesses on senior board appointments and succession planning.
Previously, Mr. Banks was managing partner for U.K.-based search firm Howgate Sable. He also ran his own boutique search firm, Questor International, and gained earlier experience with recruitment firm Michael Page.
Entry Point Options
“Steve brings the right blend of market knowledge and leadership to us in this important market expansion,” said ZRG CEO Larry Hartmann. As Mr. Hartmann carefully considered various entry point options into the U.K., he said, Mr. Banks emerged as the right choice as a senior leader with a broad background to support the firm’s plans.
“ZRG has been on my radar from past colleagues who have joined the platform and from the tremendous growth the firm has experienced these past few years,” said Mr. Banks. “The U.K. market is receptive to innovation and new thinking in executive search and ZRG’s data rich value proposition and positioning as a single firm, global option is the right client answer. I am excited about helping grow the U.K. region in tandem with the firm’s global expansion.”
ZRG also has plans to open a new office in Hong Kong in June.
ZRG’s foray into the U.K. supports an expansion strategy that started several years ago, but picked up in earnest more recently. In March, the firm named Mark Cusick to head up a new division called Orca Talent. As president, he leads this sales optimization business, which is addressing the global challenges of sales force hiring and productivity.
Mr. Cusick brings a unique skill set to the role, having worked with global companies, as well as entrepreneurial start-up organizations in both the public and private markets. In addition to being a founding partner of ZRG Partners in 1999, Mr. Cusick has started several companies in commercial finance, real estate and healthcare. He has built a reputation for disrupting technologies and processes that lead to innovative tools for business.
“Clients have been increasingly asking us to assist with the problem of sales force productivity and helping minimize costly hiring mistakes,” said Mr. Hartmann. “We are thrilled to have Mark lead this effort as we continue to expand our offerings and do further system development in this important area.”
In February, ZRG named Allen Brady and Peter Gremillion as managing directors to its industrial practice group as well as Jill Schofield as managing director and head of its global mining practice. Mr. Brady gained executive search and talent acquisition functional experience at Korn Ferry, Bombardier Learjet, Waggener Edstrom, and Sierra Nevada Corporation. Mr. Gremillion, who works out of the firm’s Frankfurt office, has 13 years of executive search experience before joining ZRG. Previously, he was regional practice leader, industrial and manufacturing, for SpenglerFox. Ms. Schofield, who manages the firm’s work in Western Canada, started her search career in 2001. She comes to ZRG from DHR International, where she served as managing partner for the same region.
In January, the firm added David Sheahan as a managing director in its Dallas office. He focuses on supporting clients in the life sciences, technology and energy sectors, where he has extensive experience. Mr. Sheahan has had a long career in human resource services, having served with Korn Ferry since 2008. He has led complex talent management projects for a number of blue chip companies, C-suite executives and boards of directors.
ZRG also named Sharon Stein as a managing director in its financial services, private equity and consumer recruiting practices. She works from the firm’s New York office. Ms. Stein has served clients across a broad range of sectors, including private equity, financial services, technology, consumer packaged goods, hospitality and retail. For the past 10 years she has been president of Sagamore, NA, a search firm she founded that recruits C-suite executives and leaders in general management, marketing and strategy.
In addition, ZRG added Philipp Sturm as a managing director and country head of Germany. He works out of the firm’s office in Frankfurt and will also serve as a member of its global industrial practice. Mr. Sturm brings more than a decade of solid and relevant executive search experience to ZRG. Prior to joining the firm, he worked at Korn Ferry in its global industrial practice.
Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media