Executive Recruiters Get Back to Business.

10 May, 2021

Last year was tough, to say the least, on the executive search industry. Close to 60 percent of Hunt Scanlon Media’s Top 50 firms reported a decline in revenues. But that disruption has now receded, and business is returning to levels not seen since the waning days of 2019 and first two months of 2020.

May 10, 2021 – Executive recruiters spent the better part of last year resetting expectations – the result of an unprecedented, and completely unexpected, interruption to their business due to COVID-19. But according to search professionals across the spectrum, that disruption has now receded, and business is returning to levels not seen since the waning days of 2019 and first two months of 2020. It is a significant turnaround for a sector that had put itself on pause last spring.

Many executive search firms struggled in 2020. According to the latest Hunt Scanlon Media survey of executive search firms, 28 recruiting providers among the research firm’s “Top 50” – nearly 60 percent – reported declining revenues last year. Each of the five leading SHREK firms reported business declines, with Korn Ferry reporting the steepest dip at 15 percent. That was followed by Heidrick & Struggles, down 13 percent; Russell Reynolds Associates, down eight percent; Spencer Stuart, down seven percent; and Egon Zehnder, which was down three percent. Globally for these top talent providers, the picture was not much better.

Fastest Growing

No single executive search firm, however, had the good fortune that Hobbs & Towne enjoyed in 2020. Focused exclusively, and deliberately, on the clean tech, mobility, climate technology, food and agriculture, water, infrastructure, and sustainability markets – Hobbs & Towne took first place in the exclusive Hunt Scanlon ‘Top 25’ rankings as the fastest growing search firm of the year.

Forecasts provided by the firm show unimpeded growth as far as the eye can see. And no wonder: a sector once considered a backwater is now the darling of major private equity and venture capital players, family offices, management consulting behemoths, and wealthy investors seeking to make their mark – and lots of money – on the transformational shift to cleaner, more sustainable living. Among them: Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Oaktree, Elon Musk, Greentech Capital Advisors, Kleiner Perkins, Jeff Bezos, Clean Energy Venture Fund, and a host of others.

“Since 1997, we have partnered with mission-driven, forward-thinking investors, companies and people who approach decision-making with an ESG framework to drive disruptive solutions that have global impact on climate and sustainability,” said founding partner and CEO Andy Towne. Among the search firm’s notable recent placements: chief science officer of transformational food and beverage company Impossible; chief people officer of solar, storage and energy efficiency company Elevation; chief technology and innovation officer at National Grid; and CEO of innovative electricity technology company Smart Wires.

Over two decades, Mr. Towne and co-founder Bob Hobbs, along with an expanding group of recruiting colleagues, have led a talent revolution across the space, placing over 2,500 leaders into more than 600 companies globally. Now the firm is turning to a major expansion in financial advisory work, playing off an intimate network to provide strategic introductions and capital raise advice, interim management, restructuring counseling, leadership assessment and executive coaching, and culture consulting through its DE&I platform.

For full article, please visit: Hunt Scanlon