January 24, 2018 – ZRG Partners, the fastest growing search firm in the U.S., has expanded with the addition of Carren Shi as a managing director and country head of China, based in the firm’s Shanghai office. She brings to the role 20 years of local market business experience, with more than 12 years in executive search.
Over the years, Ms. Shi has built a strong record in the consumer, travel, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, medical device, pharma, chemical, financial investment, IT and industrial sectors. Prior to coming to ZRG, she was the founder and managing partner of TRUST, a consulting firm specializing in human capital solutions.
She spearheaded TRUST’s growth and development in the APAC regions, supporting clients’ needs in leadership acquisition, consulting and development across sectors. Ms. Shi started her executive search and human resources consulting career with Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company, and MRI China as managing consultant for the Greater China regions.
“We felt it was time to add a local leader on the ground every day in China, to help further develop the tremendous opportunities helping our clients find the best talent in the market,” said Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG. “Carren brings big company experience and an entrepreneurial history to the role with ZRG, which makes her the perfect choice to help us grow in both China and across Asia Pacific.”
“Bob Chandis has done a great job for ZRG over the past decade supporting our clients work in Asia Pacific and in building our Shanghai office,” Mr. Hartmann said. “Bob will continue to split his time between offices, focusing more time in North America working with Chinese companies expanding into the region as Carren takes on the leadership role in the region.”
Ms. Shi said she is excited by this career opportunity. “ZRG is bringing innovation to the process of hiring, and my clients in Asia Pacific will benefit from the data and analytics tools to help drive great hiring decisions,” she said. “I am also looking forward to supporting the existing ZRG Partners global relationships in the region for important senior hires.”
China has the world’s second-largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. It is also a global hub for manufacturing, being both the largest manufacturing economy and largest exporter of goods in the world. China is also the fastest growing consumer market and second largest importer of goods anywhere.
Ms. Shi recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media and discussed her new role as well as the executive search market in China. Here are some excerpts from that interview.
Carren, take us inside the current state of the Chinese search market?
Here are five key words to summarize the Chinese search market: growth, diversity, competition, localization and integration. In the last 30 years, the executive search business has grown tremendously due to the benefit of economic growth in China domestically and internationally, especially with the ‘Belt and Road initiative’ spanning more than 68 countries and encompassing 4.4 billion people and up to 40 percent of the global GDP. It is estimated that over 60,000 search firms are in China and over 470,000 people are employed in this sector. The leading international firms tend to take on the senior and retained searches from their global accounts; the boutiques are driven by a key accounts strategy and contingent business combined with a hybrid model. In the last 10 years, localization of international search firms has taken place. It is crucial for global search firms to be ready to serve Chinese companies in China and overseas with local teams and customized execution tools and models in place.
“It is estimated that over 60,000 search firms are in China and over 470,000 people are employed in this sector.”
How big is the market?
It is a huge market that the international firms cannot afford to ignore. According to the International Monetary Fund, China’s GDP will be 35.2 percent of the global growth (2017-2019) in real GDP. The Chinese economic structure and Chinese people lifestyle needs are undergoing dramatic reform and upgrading.
How will you bring your past experience into your new role?
I have a combination of experience from both an international firm and a boutique firm. With 20 years in business, I understand both the search and business dynamics. Rooted in China with an international background, I will add value for ZRG’s international clients here, develop Chinese clients and build a local team with international best practices.
What types of clients will you be working with?
I am a generalist/cross-border consultant with strong targeted search capacity and I work with our clients in partnership. I serve a diversified portfolio in consumer, travel, real estate, luxury goods, healthcare, life science, pharma/medical device, chemical, IT and financial services. Some of my clients are ONYX Hospitality, Hugo Boss, AMI, NEO Investment, DiaSorin, Haemonetics, Grace, Astra Zeneca, IHG, Accor and Wanda.
What do you foresee in 2018?
I believe strong hiring will continue within the healthcare, pharma, medical device, consumer/life style brands, hotels/travel, as well as the financial services/insurance/investment sectors here in China. Big year coming up!
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media