SHREK of the Talent Ecosystem

The CXOs are the brain and soul behind every company decision. It is their expertise, knowledge, and capabilities that can either take the organization to new heights or hamper the growth of the company. Choosing a CXO is a tough and tiring task for any organization. There are a lot of factors to be considered before selecting the right candidate for the job because s/he will be directly responsible for the company decisions. 

Even convincing somebody to take up the job becomes a tiring task. Many times, a CXO who has already found comfort in the organization s/he is working with, is skeptical about the move to a different organization. Many even ponder the implications of moving to a new company and look closely at the minute details which usually go unnoticed. CXOs who have a stable career are not willing to make a move unless they are convinced of a reasonable value proposition which includes challenging roles, freedom to act and benefits and perks offered by the organization. Therefore, the CXO hiring needs to be done with finesse. After all, it’s no less than finding a needle in a haystack. 

To help out organizations with this tough task of finding a suitable person for the job, executive headhunters from top search firms are engaged by all. Here comes the SHREK. SHREK is an acronym used for referring to the top five global executive search firms. In 2018 alone, SHREK made up $4.8bn in fees. They literally dominate the world of CEO and leadership search for major global companies. But who are these?

Abbreviation of SHREK is Spencer Stuart, Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds Associates, Egon Zehnder, and Korn Ferry. These five companies combined have landed thousands of CXOs in their current positions. Here’s a look at all these big corporate headhunters: 

1.) Spencer Stuart

Spencer Stuart is an American global executive search and leadership consulting firm based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1956 by Spencer Stuart. The company currently operates 57 offices in 30 countries and is privately owned. In 2009, the Wall Street Journal described the firm as the U.S. government’s main resource for finding replacement executives for companies bailed out during the Great Recession. The company has two offices in India i.e. New Delhi, Mumbai. Some major names in the company’s portfolio include Yahoo! And Twitter, both of whom have hired the firm to replace their CEOs. 

2.) Heidrick & Struggles

Heidrick & Struggles was set up in 1953, in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded by two former employees of Booz Allen Hamilton Consulting, Gardner Heidrick and John E. Struggles. The firm also has a consulting practice focused on leadership and shaping corporate culture. Its Indian operations were started in the year 1998 and specialize in senior-level executive search assignments for the India operations of multinational companies. The company has three offices in India i.e. New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. The company’s first clients include West Virginia Coal & Coke Corporation, Northern Trust and Continental Can.

3.) Russell Reynolds Associates

Russell Reynolds Associates is a management consulting firm established in 1969. The firm assists international and domestic companies to develop leaders, assess business processes, and recruit new executives. It also provides leadership advisory and executive recruiting services which include CEO/board advisory, culture assessment, digital transformation, diversity and inclusion, executive search, family business advisory, global supply chain, and leadership assessment services.  The firm currently has 46 offices in 26 countries. It has two offices in India i.e. Mumbai and New Delhi. 

4.) Egon Zehnder

Egon Zehnder is a global management consulting and executive search firm. It is currently the world’s largest privately-held executive search firm and the third-largest executive search and talent strategy firm globally. The firm was founded in 1964 by Harvard graduate Egon Zehnder. The organization presently has over 420 consultants and more than 2600 employees. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the firm operates from 68 wholly-owned offices in 40 countries. In India, the company is represented by its offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore.

5.) Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a management consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1969 by Lester Korn and Richard Ferry who were previously working with accounting firm Peat, Marwick, Mitchell. The firm currently employs 8,678 people in 104 offices of 52 countries. The company started its India operations in 1994 and currently has three offices in the country i.e. New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. 

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