case study four

CEO Search for a National Consulting & Staffing Firm

 

After receiving yearly national and state recognition for fastest company growth, this $60M consulting and staffing firm reached out to Gerard Stewart to find the company’s next Chief Executive Officer. Due to this organization’s dramatic growth during the last several years, they required an entrepreneurial leader capable of breathing new life into the sales team and recharging client development. The senior leadership set a goal for the company to reach $150M and needed a high-energy trailblazer committed to driving the company to become the highest growth firm in the space, a candidate that would need to possess a variety of skills, as well as someone who would support the company’s culture.

Unable to find an ideal candidate to fulfill the role, the company reached out to Gerard Stewart for the solution. Our firm understood that finding the individual with the right set of talent and cultural fit would ensure their future success and help them reach their $150M goal. Some key abilities needed were experience in driving business growth, optimizing resources, and enterprise-level consultative sales experience. Additionally, s/he would need to be capable of building sales and recruiting teams, sustaining a positive corporate culture, while inspiring confidence with all internal and external contacts.

The key leadership and Board of Directors wanted a search partner to deliver:

  • A collaborative partnership of trust where the search firm acts as an extension of the client company. Delving into the needs of all involved, including the company, the needs of Board and other stakeholders, was imperative.

 

  • A breadth of industry experience and contacts to generate a pool of potential contenders, while quickly finding an ideal leader and then benchmarking other superior caliber executives. Sharing the opportunity and the company’s vision for the future with only the best-aligned candidates ensured finding the right fit.

 

  • A keen ability to grasp a candidate’s motivation and to evaluate the alignment of their motivation with the values and vision of the client company.

 

During a focused 2-month period, Gerard Stewart acted as an extension of the company and generated a slate of highly qualified executives. Creating trust between our firm and the client helped to establish the most valuable criteria to meet the needs of the Board and the organization as a whole. Early on, we recognized the importance of finding a high-energy entrepreneurial leader capable of building internal commitment and driving sales and overall growth. The criteria helped us to quickly refine our search on the contender that possessed the best alignment and culture fit. During our pre-screening and interview process potential candidates were posed questions around motivation, market interests and growth strategies. The responses gathered from these questions provided key insightinto the candidate’s self-perception, ability to strategize, and formulate plans for the organization’s growth. These insights into the executive’s thought processes reassured the key leadership that the contender had both the necessary talent set and culture match.

Within the first few weeks of the search a slate of superior candidates were generated. During this time, the selection criteria and prescreening process shaped the pool of potential candidates. By the end of the second week, Gerard Stewart had identified the executive that would eventually be hired as the company’s new CEO.  After benchmarking 5 of the best contenders for the role and screening other potential candidates, one leader stood out as the best possible fit. This frontrunner demonstrated the broadest skill sets with significant experience in sales, operations, financial management, and staff development. In 2011, as a Chief Sales Officer managing a $2.5B business unit within an enterprise-level staffing company, she increased the organization’s national accounts revenue by 19%.  Her most recent role as the CEO of a business, marketing, and technology solutions provider with locations in the US, UK, and India prepared her to take the helm of a national consulting and staffing firm.

Gerard Stewart took on the challenge of finding a CEO for a national consulting and staffing firm, and within the first two weeks of active search, the candidate that was eventually hired to fulfill the role had completed our initial screening process. Based on a close partnership with our client, we determined only those potential contenders with the best sales, operations, financial management, and staff development experience would answer their needs.  We focused on finding an executive pool that met or exceeded their needs.   From this perspective, our ideal candidate required entrepreneurial leadership, high culture fit, and a strong commitment to building a legacy within the organization. By the end of the second month, the principal candidate had been hired for this coveted position.