The Morgan Samuels Perspective

Three Critical Attributes of Great Private Equity CFOs

Posted by Todd Wyles on Wed, Sep 27, 2017

For private equity investors, ensuring they have the right CFO is widely thought to be the most critical decision they will make from a talent standpoint, second only to installing a top CEO.  

iStock-640189368.jpgOver the past three years, nearly forty percent of all the PE-backed executive searches Morgan Samuels has conducted have been CFO searches.  Why is this search such a common one throughout the investment cycle?  Is there a common profile for the best CFOs?  And if there is, what are the specific attributes that are most often observed?

In an attempt to answer these questions, Morgan Samuels has captured and analyzed extensive quantitative and qualitative data from CFO searches we have conducted for PE-backed businesses ranging in size from $8M - $75M EBITDA, across multiple industries.  By culling the data collected from assessing hundreds of chief financial officers for these searches, we have identified three critical attributes of great CFOs for PE-backed companies:

  1. They all have the desire and ability to be a true partner to the CEO, both internally and externally.
  2. They have command of the levers and metrics that drive value in the business, and they play a major role in executing the strategy.
  3. They are hands on, decisive, and they have a very high sense of urgency.

Let’s look at each of these characteristics in more detail:

True Partner to the CEO

This may appear to be a relatively soft attribute and difficult to measure, but based on our experience a CFO must not only fit the culture of the portfolio company, but also the style and vision of the CEO.  And they must simultaneously focus on both the internal and external aspects of their position.

One of the reasons the CFO role is so critical to get right at a PE-backed company is that they must have the skills and ability to advance the vision and strategy of the CEO, across multiple functions. They need to be able to translate the financial impact / projected outcomes of the strategy across the organization.  This is the internal aspect of becoming a partner to the CEO. 

Additionally, they must be focused externally.  They need to manage banking relationships and ensure covenants are not broken.  They often own multiple professional service provider relationships.  Perhaps most importantly, they have to be comfortable serving two masters – both their CEO and also the Board which will typically include at least one senior member of the GP.  And when it comes time to exit, the CFO plays a major role in interfacing with potential buyers, which requires both strong presentation skills and the ability to influence buyers.

Metrics Driven

Cash is King is a trite anecdote.  But for many middle market private equity-owned companies, it is still a very relevant mindset.  Most control investments are levered such that the management team has to be extraordinarily thoughtful about how they manage cash to ensure growth (whether that be organic, or via acquisition) and liquidity.  The CFO is at the tip of the spear regarding cash management.

One CFO we recently placed at a $150M business services company recognized within about 30 days on the job that the company was going to run out of cash 60 days later!  The CEO and the Board were not as aware of this, and so the very first order of business for this CFO was to create a set of metrics/KPIs that provided visibility for cash management on a daily basis.  That is how critical managing cash can be for a midsized business, and CFOs who install systems to ensure this happens are the most successful.

Hands on and Decisive

One of the most striking differences we have observed in successful CFOs for middle market companies with private equity owners is that they truly appreciate (and accept) that resources are at a premium, and that time is of the essence. Very few CFOs in private equity enjoy the resources (both from a staff and budget perspective) that their counterparts in the marketplace have.  Similarly, they do not have nearly as much time to create value for the PE-backed business, with an exit often only a few years away.  Being willing to get their hands dirty—and do it quickly by making great decisions (often without as much information as they would like) are hallmarks of the most effective private equity CFOs.

Private Equity Practice Leader Todd WylesA private equity firm’s greatest asset lies in its people and their capabilities to deliver across a myriad of stakeholders’ expectations. Top talent that is a great fit for private equity is extraordinarily scarce across the board, and finding the right CFO is especially critical to success. We have conducted dozens ofnumerous successful CFO searches for PE-backed companies, and we have found that candidates who possess the criteria described above thrive within the unique demands of private equity.

Click here to find out more about Morgan Samuels’ Private Equity Practice.

 

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, lean six sigma, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, retained executive search firm, top executive search firms, Private Equity, PE, executive search, executive search consultants, Todd Wyles, CFO, executive search private equity

Not Sure You Want the Job? Do Your Homework Anyway!

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Jul 20, 2016

It’s common advice that the key to nailing an interview for a job you want is preparation.  But what about an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want?

stocksnap_homework.jpg“Even if you’re not interested -- prepare,” says Bert Hensley, Morgan Samuels’ Chairman and CEO. After all, there may be
 an upcoming opening that is more appealing – either at this company or at another client company through the executive search firm.  “If you get good feedback from a client, then search firms will think of you again.  You have an audience beyond who’s in the room.”  

Executive search firms place candidates in two broad categories: active and passive.  Active candidates are actively seeking new employment, while passive candidates are generally happy in their current roles. 

“Passive candidates sometimes don’t prepare like they should.  There’s a perception among executives that they benefit from being coy or playing hard to get in the interview process,” Mr. Hensley says.  “In my experience, that’s not the case.”

 “Go in prepared, or you’re better off not doing it,” he advises. 

 

How to Prepare: 

  • Know Your Numbers. Be able to quantify your own performance, but also understand the performance of the company.  If the company is public, read their annual reports online. 
  • Know Their Story, and Yours. Be able to describe your career as a narrative and a journey.  How did you get where you are? What have you learned?  Also know the hiring company’s story.  Know its history and read through recent press releases to learn recent developments.  Research the professional background of the interviewer. 
  • Know the Industry. Research what trends are impacting the company, both positively and negatively.
  •  Ask Pointed Questions. Why is the position available?  What are their expectations?  What roadblocks would you face?  Are there opportunities for growth for someone in this position?  Both parties need to understand whether the placement is a good fit or it won’t last long, if you do decide you want it.

 Remember: interviewing for a job is always great practice, even if you’re not sure you’re interested in it. Look at it as an opportunity to shake the rust off your interviewing skills. That way, when you get to interview for your dream job, you’re ready to nail it.

BertHensley-1.jpg

Click here for more career guidance and tools

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, leadership, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, interview tips, talent

What Makes a Great Private Equity CFO?

Posted by Todd Wyles on Mon, Nov 16, 2015

For private equity investors, ensuring they have the right CFO is widely thought to be the most critical decision they will make from a talent standpoint, second only to installing a top CEO.  

unsplash_businessman_suit2.jpgOver the past three years, nearly forty percent of all the PE-backed searches Morgan Samuels has conducted have been CFO searches.  Why is this search such a common one throughout the investment cycle?  Is there a common profile for the best CFOs?  And if there is, what are the specific attributes that are most often observed?

In an attempt to answer these questions, Morgan Samuels has captured and analyzed extensive quantitative and qualitative data from CFO searches we have conducted for PE-backed businesses ranging in size from $8M - $75M EBITDA, across multiple industries.  By culling the data collected from assessing hundreds of chief financial officers for these searches, we have identified three critical attributes of great CFOs for PE-backed companies:

  1. They all have the desire and ability to be a true partner to the CEO, both internally and externally.
  2. They have command of the levers and metrics that drive value in the business, and they play a major role in executing the strategy.
  3. They are hands on, decisive, and they have a very high sense of urgency.

Let’s look at each of these characteristics in more detail:

True Partner to the CEO

This may appear to be a relatively soft attribute and difficult to measure, but based on our experience a CFO must not only fit the culture of the portfolio company, but also the style and vision of the CEO.  And they must simultaneously focus on both the internal and external aspects of their position.

One of the reasons the CFO role is so critical to get right at a PE-backed company is that they must have the skills and ability to advance the vision and strategy of the CEO, across multiple functions. They need to be able to translate the financial impact / projected outcomes of the strategy across the organization.  This is the internal aspect of becoming a partner to the CEO. 

Additionally, they must be focused externally.  They need to manage banking relationships and ensure covenants are not broken.  They often own multiple professional service provider relationships.  Perhaps most importantly, they have to be comfortable serving two masters – both their CEO and also the Board which will typically include at least one senior member of the GP.  And when it comes time to exit, the CFO plays a major role in interfacing with potential buyers, which requires both strong presentation skills and the ability to influence buyers.

Metrics Driven

Cash is King is a trite anecdote.  But for many middle market private equity-owned companies, it is still a very relevant mindset.  Most control investments are levered such that the management team has to be extraordinarily thoughtful about how they manage cash to ensure growth (whether that be organic, or via acquisition) and liquidity.  The CFO is at the tip of the spear regarding cash management.

One CFO we recently placed at a $150M business services company recognized within about 30 days on the job that the company was going to run out of cash 60 days later!  The CEO and the Board were not as aware of this, and so the very first order of business for this CFO was to create a set of metrics/KPIs that provided visibility for cash management on a daily basis.  That is how critical managing cash can be for a midsized business, and CFOs who install systems to ensure this happens are the most successful.

Hands on and Decisive

One of the most striking differences we have observed in successful CFOs for middle market companies with private equity owners is that they truly appreciate (and accept) that resources are at a premium, and that time is of the essence. Very few CFOs in private equity enjoy the resources (both from a staff and budget perspective) that their counterparts in the marketplace have.  Similarly, they do not have nearly as much time to create value for the PE-backed business, with an exit often only a few years away.  Being willing to get their hands dirty—and do it quickly by making great decisions (often without as much information as they would like) are hallmarks of the most effective private equity CFOs.

Private Equity Practice Leader Todd WylesA private equity firm’s greatest asset lies in its people and their capabilities to deliver across a myriad of stakeholders’ expectations. Top talent that is a great fit for private equity is extraordinarily scarce across the board, and finding the right CFO is especially critical to success. We have conducted dozens of successful CFO searches for PE-backed companies over the past few years, and we have found that candidates who possess the criteria described above thrive within the unique demands of private equity.

Click here to find out more about Morgan Samuels’ Private Equity Practice.

 

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, lean six sigma, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, retained executive search firm, top executive search firms, Private Equity, PE, executive search, executive search consultants, Todd Wyles, CFO, executive search private equity

It's All About Relationships

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Mon, Mar 24, 2014

The January issue of PE Manager includes expert commentary by Todd Wyles about the importance of PE firms proactively building and maintaining their own pipelines of executive talent. As the bar for human capital talent in private equity is exceptionally high and the competition for top talent is fierce, Todd makes the case for PE firms to devote the time and energy to create and sustain their senior executive networks in a systematic fashion.

Todd is the Private Equity Practice Leader at Morgan Samuels. In addition to his own experience, Todd interviewed senior leaders at Friedman Fleischer & Lowe and General Atlantic to get their perspective on why and how they work at building a strong bench of potential talent. Download the article for some thoughts on how to succeed in the ongoing battle for rock star talent.

Download

Topics: morgan samuels, human capital consultants, Private Equity, PE

Human Capital Solutions: Putting the + in CIO-Plus

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Thu, Jun 13, 2013

Forbes just wrapped a series of columns and interviews exploring the new role of the "CIO-Plus." The idea is that Chief Information Officers (and those with the same general job but different titles) throughout the marketplace are taking on responsibilities in other areas, becoming Chief Innovation Officers, Heads of HR, Chief Supply Chain Officers, and Heads of Shared Services, etc.

This interests us at Morgan Samuels because as part of human capital solutions in our consulting practice, we often find that companies are seeking to effect a cultural change through hiring, when what they need is a strategic realignment. Our primary practice is retained executive search, so we are always more than happy to help you find a new C-level executive. If that's what you need. But often what a company needs is to rethink how their C-suite is structured. Giving your top talent more and different responsibilities is a great way to improve company performance, all while keeping your executives challenged and preparing them for succession with well-rounded experience.

These expanded roles have also been beneficial for CIOs, as the series notes that the position is becoming more of a stepping stone to CEO, with CIOs competing with the COOs and CFOs who are usually up for the head job.

Here's how Forbes describes the new path:

CIOs who have become COOs, CEOs, or who have taken on other wide-ranging responsibilities have typically spent some time in a business role within the company, even early in their career. This familiarizes them with the company’s customers, the profit and loss statements and the drivers of each,  and simply builds their networks across the company. When they achieved the top position in IT, they have walked a mile in the shoes of other divisions of the company. They also are probably familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the IT department as a user, which provides a strong degree of empathy in their perspective.

The gist is that you don't want to get caught up thinking in old paradigms. The business world is evolving too fast for that. You want executives with the right experience to help your company move forward, even as the ground moves under you, no matter what the title on the resume says.

We'll soon see how these tech savvy CEOs perform. At Morgan Samuels, we think they will do well. Diane Gilley, a Principal at Morgan Samuels, works a lot with CIO candidates and on a lot of CIO executive searches. She said, "Chief Information Officers have really transformed from being the internal IT key operator to being seen as one of the top participants and decision makers at the corporate table.  Many of them now play a much broader role in partnering with different internal functions to really differentiate themselves out in the marketplace. It makes sense that CIOs are having different doors open at this time." 

Wired Magazine reports a survey of CIOs  which says most expect to roll out a few dozen mobile apps each in the next few years to keep up-to-date with employees and consumers and all the devices they carry. Any executive that can oversee that kind of rapid growth, juggling a score of projects, all while protecting networks and maintaining an efficient infrastructure, has proven his or her management mettle.

If you think you fit this mold, or would like to, submit your resume to become part of our confidential database of executive talent:

Submit your Resume

Topics: human capital consultants, CIO, CEO

A New Front in the War for Talent?

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Thu, May 23, 2013

Todd Wyles Morgan SamuelsThe May issue of PE Manager includes a piece by our firm's own Todd Wyles on how private equity firms approach talent management across their portfolios. Increasingly, PE firms are adopting an Operating Partner in charge of Talent or Human Capital to help facilitate executive hiring at their portfolio companies. Todd interviewed several Heads of Talent, including leaders at Genstar Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe to learn how they create value.

Todd is the Private Equity Practice Leader at Morgan Samuels. As a human capital consulting firm, we are always enthusiastic about putting a focus on talent issues. We think the emergence of the Head of Talent role at PE firms is a positive development in the private equity space for reasons outlined in Todd’s commentary.

Click here to Download

Topics: executive recruiters, top executive search firm, morgan samuels, lean six sigma, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, retained executive search firm, top executive search firms, Private Equity, PE, executive search, executive search consultants, executive employment agency, Private Equity International, Magazine, Head of Talent, CHRO, Todd Wyles

Executive Leadership - CEO Pay & What It Means for Your Company

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Thu, May 2, 2013

Executive compensation has been a hot-button political issue since the 2008 economic collapse, the resulting bailouts, and following that, the Occupy Wall Street movement. You can find varied and conflicting viewpoints on income inequality and its impact on political and economic systems. But as a human capital consulting firm, the question for us is whether the methods for establishing CEO pay are effective for companies.

A new study from the University of Delaware's Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance offers some interesting insights and caused a bit of a stir. (It's been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review.)

The authors argue that CEO compensation models are flawed. The basic system is that companies want to pay their chief executive above the average in their market -- both to draw the best talent in the market and to signal to their investors and competition that their talent is better than the rest. The effect is that the average compensation keeps increasing, faster than inflation, profits and worker's wages.

The supporters of ever-escalating pay argue that handsome compensation packages are necessary to keep CEOs from straying to greener pastures at other companies. But new research by a University of Delaware professor and student suggests fears of CEOs jumping ship are fiction.... [Researchers] compiled data on the CEOs of 1,500 companies over the last 30 years. What they found was surprising: Top executives almost never leave for other companies. Among the thousands of CEOs included in the study, only 27 left for another position, and most failed in their new positions.

You can read the whole study here.

There are some tidbits in there that we at Morgan Samuels have known for a while, both intuitively and from experience. You can't plug and play different executives and hope their profits come along with them to their new office. Fit and culture matter significantly. (It's something we place a big emphasis on with our executive search practice.) So why offer big compensation packages? This might seem obvious, but just because your competition shouldn't steal your rockstar executive doesn't mean they won't. You can't blame the executive for taking the better deal. And even if they aren't likely to leave, morale is important, even among high-powered executives. You don't just want your leadership in place, you want them happy.

But on the flip side, part of delivering maximum value to shareholders is ensuring they aren't overpaying for any commodity, and that includes human capital. So what's the solution?

Morgan Samuels is of the view that almost any problem can be eliminated or ameliorated with better information. Which is why one of the human capital consulting services we focus on is market intelligence. We like to know who in our target market is earning what compensation, how they're performing, who is happy in their jobs, and who is looking to move. Knowing all this gives our clients a leg up. It gets them closer to finding that perfect dollar amount where executives are excited to come to work and shareholders are happy with the balance sheet.

Topics: executive recruiters, leadership, human capital consultants, retained executive search firm, compensation, executive search, ceo pay

Smarter Metrics, Smarter People

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Thu, Apr 4, 2013

It’s called Big Data.  Every transaction, every contact with a customer, every employee interaction is a data point that gets recorded, analyzed and processed.  It’s going to be a boon to companies that can get a handle on how to use it.  You can read a lot about how it will change business here, here and here.  But you’ll notice that most people discuss Big Data as an outwardly focused phenomenon: How can it improve profits?

What you don’t see enough of, we think, is how it can improve hiring.  In other words: How can it improve the teams that drive those profits in the first place?

In the human capital business, that’s a thing we think about a lot.  In a recent write up about the movement they call “Talent Analytics,” Forbes explained its importance thusly:

There are around 160 million workers in the US alone, and most companys’ largest expense is payroll.  In fact in most businesses payroll is 40% or more of total revenue, meaning that total US payroll expense is many billions of dollars.  How well do organizations truly understand what drives performance among their workforce?  The answer: not really very well.

Simply put, companies know how to measure success.  That’s what the bottom line is for.  What they don’t know is why people are successful.

Do we know why one sales person outperforms his peers?  Do we understand why certain leaders thrive and others flame out?  Can we accurately predict whether a candidate will really perform well in our organization?  The answer to most of these questions is no.  The vast majority of hiring, management, promotion, and rewards decisions are made on gut feel, personal experience, and corporate belief systems.

We all know that past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  But everyone wants to hire the guy with the past performance because he has demonstrated results.  Even if it works, the guy with the past performance is expensive.  No one likes expensive.  But we need results.  Round and round this loop we go.

How do we get off?  Talent Analytics.  The concept is familiar to anyone who follows baseball or saw the Brad Pitt film “Moneyball.”  (Baseball calls their analytics Sabermetrics.)  Much of the old, analog world hasn’t yet caught up to Big Data so there are huge market inefficiencies to exploit.

(The business world) operates under a belief system that employees with good grades who come from highly ranked colleges will make good performers.  So their recruitment, selection, and promotion process is based on these academic drivers.

Makes sense, right?  So they looked at the data.  You want to know three things they found did not matter when correlated with performance?

  1. Where the candidate went to school
  2. Their grades
  3. The quality of their references.

You need to find the traits and process of successful people, and hire people who have those traits and processes.  If you focus solely on a candidate’s past results, you’re using too small a sample size that is too largely affected by chance.

Focus on process, process and process.  (Billy Bean of “Moneyball” fame had the simple but brilliant observation that batting average was a terrible stat because it was dependent on the luck of where the ball landed.  Why not get cheaper players who put the ball in play but had so far been unlucky or hadn’t gotten opportunity?  i.e. find the players who had the best batting process, but not results?  Voilà, competitive advantage.)

Article Quote

Here at Morgan Samuels, we love this kind of stuff.  As a Lean Six Sigma company, we’re big on fine-tuning our own process as we figure out what works for us.  But we’ve also found that we can make better executive placements across industries by matching skill sets, and sometimes ignoring the particulars of a candidate’s experience, as long as they have enough of it.  We can find a bigger slate of great candidates that way because no one else is doing it.

What can you accomplish by getting ahead of the data curve? Read this book: “Trading Bases.” It’s an out-of-the-box example of a former securities trader turned sports-bettor who used data-heavy analytics to turn $1 million into $1.41 million in one baseball season.  (He made only a 14 percent return the second year.)

How could he do that?  Simple.  He’s using Big Data, and the people he’s betting against are using their instincts.  Or as the trader, Joe Peta, put it:

Sabermetrics in baseball allows employers to pay for skill sets and not get confused by results.

When your competitors are stuck in the past, confused by attributes that don’t matter, that’s competitive advantage.

Topics: executive recruiters, top executive search firm, morgan samuels, leadership, lean six sigma, human capital consultants

Be Prepared

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Fri, Feb 22, 2013

It’s common advice that the key to nailing an interview for a job you want is preparation.  But what about an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want?

“Even if you’re not interested -- prepare,” said Bert Hensley, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Samuels, a leading human capital consulting firm with a focus on retained executive search.  That is because there may be an upcoming opening that is more appealing.  “If you get good feedback from a client, then search firms will think of you again.  You have an audience beyond who’s in the room.”

Search firms place candidates in two broad categories: active and passive.  Active candidates are actively seeking new employment, while passive candidates are generally happy in their current roles.

“Passive candidates sometimes don’t prepare like they should.  There’s a perception among executives that they benefit from being coy or playing hard to get in the interview process,” Mr. Hensley said.  “In my experience, that’s not the case.”

“Go in prepared, or you’re better off not doing it,” he said.

Article Quote

-Know Your Numbers.  Be able to quantify your own performance, but also understand the performance of the company.  If the company is public, read their annual reports online.

-Know Their Story, and Yours.  Be able to describe your career as a narrative and a journey.  How did you get where you are? What have you learned?  Also know company’s story.  Know its history and read through recent press releases to learn recent developments.  Research the professional background of the interviewer.

-Know the Industry.  Research what trends are impacting the company, both positively and negatively.

-Ask Pointed Questions.  Why is the position available?  What are their expectations?  What roadblocks would you face?  Are there opportunities for growth for someone in this position?  Both parties need to understand whether the placement is a good fit or it won’t last long.

Topics: morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms

Retained Executive Search vs. In-House Recruiting

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Jan 30, 2013

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek is creating quite a buzz around the human capital industry.  The piece, “Executive Headhunters Squeezed by In-House Recruiters,” uses a patchwork of anecdotes and piecemeal data to make the case that retained search firms are facing new difficulties.

With all due respect to Bloomberg, the realities they outline are neither new, nor are they really difficulties in providing value added retained executive search services.

First, let’s briefly discuss the problems with their data, which the Association of Executive Search Consultants already questioned.  Businessweek appears to have chosen arbitrary data points which happen to paint a picture that retained executive search firms are suffering.  Sure, a 33 percent decline in industry revenue in 2009 looks ominous; if you omit that the decline was from an all-time high; and if you omit that revenue is already re-approaching that all-time high.  (There was also a minor world-wide economic event in 2008 that Businessweek may recall.)

As the AESC states:

“Although in-house search is inevitably eating into the lower end of the market by taking work that previously might have gone to some executive search firms, nevertheless, the overall market for executive search services is holding firm.  Once global economic conditions stabilize, we expect to see even greater demand in response to the worldwide talent shortage—a shortage being driven by underlying demographic shifts in the developed economies and huge potential demand for executive talent from the emerging markets.”

Or, in summary, “The impression given in the article that the retained executive search profession is in decline is not substantiated by the facts.”

Businessweek seems mostly concerned with the impact of in-housing on the short-term bottom lines of both hiring companies and retained search firms.  To evaluate the merits of retained search services, and not just the costs, one would have to complete a true return on investment calculation, which includes critical factors such as the impact on bringing the best talent in the market to the organization in the shortest time period possible, while minimizing the time and energy of key existing client executives.  In addition, the extent by which true executive recruiting is done in-house is not put into context.  There has been and always will be organizations which maintain and build internal executive recruiting teams.  However, most of these limited numbers of organizations also continue to use some level of external support.

Article Quote

If they had contacted us and asked the right questions - or had done the same with any of our brethren in the retained search industry - they would have heard a polite and convincing case for hiring an executive search firm and not diverting internal resources.

A key point of added value we bring to executive search over in-house recruiters is, simply, that we’re not in-house.  We’re impartial and data-driven.  We come to the hiring process with fresh eyes and perspective.

Secondly, this is what we do.  This is all we do and we’re focused on it.  We have in-depth research capabilities and access to a wealth of human capital across dozens of industries.  We have a broader view of the marketplace and a wide reach.  The Businessweek article says that Coca-Cola does 95 percent of their searches in-house.  We’re willing to bet the other 5 percent are their high-level and/or most specific searches.  They’re not going to try to find their own CEO for the same reason we don’t try to make our own Diet Coke - the result would leave a bad taste.

After all, when it comes to something vital, you want to hire an expert.

In a similar vein, the article also states that GE’s in-house executive search team was able to beat the retained search industry standard of 170 days to staff positions in 73 days.  That’s impressive.  That’s also about our average here at Morgan Samuels.

And conceptually, the article seems to argue against itself.  It’s difficult to make the case that the services provided by firms like Morgan Samuels are superfluous in an article that outlines how major corporations are hiring away our very-talented professionals in an effort to improve their performance and bottom line.  That is, after all, our specialty.  It’s the whole idea.  And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Lastly, a firm such as Morgan Samuels that truly provides highly differentiated services within the retained search category is facing a robust market. There will always be a market for a firm that can be a strategic partner to clients, without being an insider, appropriately assesses leadership acumen and cultural fit, all the while scouring the marketplace for the best talent to meet our client’s key business objectives.  All of this is done with an average cycle time of 76 days, a 34% diversity placement ratio, and an average candidate review before offer of four.  Oh, and by the way, of the 4, 20% of our clients will try to hire two of the four.  So value like this is hard to duplicate and, frankly, from an economic standpoint, why would you?

Topics: top executive search firm, morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms