Executive heads hunted by new tribes

5. March 2013

Date: 05-03-2013
Source: The Financial Times

The obvious threats are the crowd and the cloud

In Jo Nesbo’s thriller Headhunters, “king of the heap” search consultant Roger Brown has to fund his extravagant lifestyle by stealing art from the walls of candidates’ homes while his colleagues are interviewing them.

Real-life headhunters are also diversifying. Heidrick & Struggles, seeking to offset falling revenue and volumes in its search business, recently bought Senn Delaney, a “culture-shaping” consultancy. Heidrick’s US rival Spencer Stuart offers “board counsel” and executive assessment alongside search. Egon Zehnder, which in the 1960s pioneered the business in Europe, also sells advice to family businesses and newly hired CEOs. I also detect a surge in self-justifying comments from search consultants, the sort that begin: “There will always be a role for face-to-face advice?.?.?.”

Sound the disintermediation klaxon! Technological tools, new rivals and structural change have swallowed travel agents, insurance brokers and brick-and-mortar retailers. Executive search is next. Read the rest of this entry »