Expect 2024 to Reveal Who is Ready to Lead
Dear Clients and Friends,
2023 was a dynamic and transformative year across the corporate landscape, and so far, we expect this trend to continue in 2024. Leadership in the boardroom and C-Suite has never been more indispensable. From our beginnings as a boutique board advisory firm, to our evolution into a “boardroom-centric” search firm, we are incredibly proud to work with so many companies that believe that great leadership is a competitive advantage, and with candidates who have a genuine and positive impact on the world around them.
One of the ways we celebrate great leadership is with the Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Chair of the Year Award. The Chair of the Year Award was established in 2023 to celebrate the legacy of Russ Reynolds, an icon of the executive search and board recruiting industry. The award recognizes a Chair who successfully led a Board of Directors through significant business or governance challenges. As featured in Fortune magazine, the inaugural award was presented to Sarah Nash, Chair of Bath & Body Works, at our annual Directors Dinner in New York in October. We were delighted to recognize Sarah’s extraordinary leadership and character. We hope that many of you will nominate a Chair for the award this year and join us at our Directors Dinner in October.
Our Board practice continues to anchor the firm’s activities and provide enhanced insights and connectivity to assist our executive searches across our core practice areas (Asset Management, Consumer, and Industrial Technology). Our collaborative approach – a hallmark of our firm – helped bring to light some of the trends we expect to be explored by boards and C-Suite leadership teams in 2024:
- Alignment of culture, a learning mindset, and diversity of opinions are now more important than ever on boards and C-Suite teams. The world has changed and what worked in the past will not work in the future. It is therefore critical to perform a robust and comprehensive competencies gap analysis at the board level and across key functional leaders. Does the board and the company foster an environment of intellectual curiosity, and an open and constructive dialogue without limiting different viewpoints or alienating members? Having the right culture is the foundational element for high performance.
- Risk governance requires board and executive leaders to focus not only on current and urgent risks, but to also more carefully consider low probability or unknown risks that may have enormous impact on the business. There have been many “black swan” events emerging, and as a result, creative scenario planning is required. Our recent thought piece, The Chief Supply Chain Officer Imperative: Anticipate and Plan for Disruption, discusses the need to develop operational resilience. It also might be worth establishing a committee or an advisory committee to focus on geopolitical risks.
- Don’t be left behind on AI. The NACD recently reported on the acceleration of science, technology, and/or innovation committees formed at the board level, noting that 67 Fortune 500 companies now have one or more of these committees. Does your board and leadership team have the skillset to understand generative AI, emerging/disruptive technologies, and cyber risk? Or do you need to recruit the right talent to help meet these challenges?
- The Universal Proxy Card will now be used in proxy contests to target the performance of individual directors. Activism is also expected to increase in 2024. It is important to establish action plans and accountability. Evaluations can help boards plan for succession and recruit to fill gaps in skills and experience.
- A new risk has emerged – 74% of executives surveyed by Mercer (Global Talent Trends report) stated that the majority of their workforce cannot adapt to the new world of work. People are key to competitive advantage and value creation – it is critical to know in what environments employees are productive and feel appreciated. Human capital management can play a critical role at an organization, especially in light of the new SEC disclosure rules coming in 2024.
- Lastly, board and leadership burnout is real. Time demands and pressure on directors and corporate leaders have increased substantially. Our recent thought piece, The Divergent Voice: A CEO Formula for the Current Fog of Business, discusses the complexities of being a business leader in today’s environment.
We look forward to continuing to assist our clients with their most important, complex, and sensitive leadership and governance concerns in 2024. We believe that RSR Partners is uniquely situated in the industry to provide unparalleled access and insight into top-performing business leaders. In addition to our board recruiting capabilities, we offer our clients a broad set of other Board and CEO services. Should you have any important board or C-Suite leadership needs in the coming year, we would be delighted to share our capabilities and expertise to help you. More importantly, we look forward to our continued friendship with you all.
Barrett J. Stephens
Chief Executive Officer
Email | LinkedIn | Bio
RSR Partners Strengthens Capabilities with Kimberly Melcer
Greenwich, CT, March 1, 2023 – RSR Partners, a leading board recruiting and executive search firm, announced today that Kimberly Melcer has joined the firm to lead their Marketing & Digital practice. Kimberly specializes in identifying leaders with digital transformation capabilities across the C-Suite, and especially within the marketing function. She works with start-ups, privately held, and public organizations. She has extensive experience within the AdTech, MarTech, and broader consumer and marketing services industries.
Prior to joining RSR, Kimberly helped lead the Digital practice at Buffkin / Baker. She transitioned to executive recruiting following a marketing and merchandising career in the fashion industry, most recently serving as Vice President of Global Merchandising at Armani Exchange. She started her career in the Macy’s Buying Program and later led the marketing and merchandising team within the non-beauty business at Avon.
“Ability to drive technological and digital transformation is increasingly a skill our clients are looking for on their boards and their leadership teams,” stated Brett Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of RSR. “Kimberly’s experience deepens and enhances our ability to access the talent our clients need to be at the forefront of innovation. Kimberly is a fantastic addition to our team as we continue to build service offerings that complement our existing strengths and add value for our clients.”
“There are incredible opportunities for leaders who operate at the convergence of data, technology, and marketing,” said Kimberly, “and the MarTech and AdTech landscape continues to evolve and grow. I was attracted to RSR’s collaborative culture and entrepreneurial spirit, especially since this area of expertise is welcomed across the firm and interconnects with other C-Suite functions. I’m excited to be a part of the firm’s future and its continued success.”
About RSR Partners
RSR Partners is a boutique professional services firm headquartered in Greenwich, CT, that specializes in helping Boards and CEOs with their most critical recruiting, selection, and succession needs. The firm was founded in 1993 by industry icon and Chairman Emeritus, Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Over the past 30 years, the firm has conducted thousands of projects for Boards and CEOs at public, private equity owned, and family-owned businesses across a range of industries including consumer goods and services, financial services, healthcare, industrial, and technology. To learn more about RSR Partners, click here.
+1 (203) 618-7076
Dick Hoag Joins RSR Partners
Greenwich, CT, November 8, 2022 – RSR Partners, a leading board and executive search firm, announced today that Richard (“Dick”) Hoag has joined the firm’s Asset Management practice as a Managing Director. Dick will focus on consulting and recruiting senior level C-suite, distribution, and board professionals to traditional and alternative global investment firms.
Throughout Dick’s 35-year career in the asset management industry, he has held various senior leadership positions that involved recruiting top talent and building teams. As a Senior Partner of Corinthian Cove Consulting, a strategic and tactical consulting firm, Dick advised asset managers on their growth and strategic initiatives, emphasizing the critical role that selecting talent plays in achieving their goals.
Prior to Corinthian Cove Consulting, Dick spent decades building and leading best-in-class financial services organizations. He was Managing Director and President of Landmark Global Partners (and its predecessor firm, Liontrust International-London) and group head for the North American Institutional business. Dick also served as a Managing Director and Co-Head of Institutional Sales and Client Service at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (BlackRock 2007) and was Executive Vice President and Managing Director of London-based Gartmore Global Partners, where he ran the U.S. Institutional business, and was a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Mutual Fund Advisory Board. Dick is a past President and served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Investment Management Sales Executives (AIMSE) and is a recipient of their prestigious Richard A. Lothrop Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Dick brings a powerful combination of deep industry knowledge plus a strong consulting track record of helping asset management firms solve their most important strategic and leadership needs,” stated Brett Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of RSR. “Now more than ever, clients need the unique perspective Dick provides on what makes a firm successful in ever-changing environments and how they can build towards their aspirational future.”
Dick joins RSR following the firm’s recent announcement that founder and industry icon, Russ Reynolds, transitioned to a Chairman Emeritus role and was succeeded by Todd Ruppert as Non-Executive Chairman. Todd is RSR’s first independent chair.
“Dick’s arrival reinforces our commitment to building our asset management practice,” said Todd, who also spent much of his career in investment management. “Dick joins a deep bench of experienced asset management consultants, and we are confident he will be a strong contributor to the firm’s culture of teamwork. His proven ability to find the best and brightest in the industry uniquely positions RSR to be at the forefront of identifying transformational leaders in the asset management space.”
“After three decades of hands-on experience developing talent at institutional financial services organizations, I look forward to bringing my expertise to RSR,” stated Dick. “The globalization and consolidation of firms continues to drive a demand for talent, and I look forward to providing clients the counsel needed to thrive in this dynamic and transitional market.”
About RSR Partners
RSR Partners is a boutique professional services firm headquartered in Greenwich, CT, that specializes in helping Boards and CEOs with their most critical recruiting, selection, and succession needs. The company was founded in 1993 by industry icon and Chairman Emeritus, Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Over the past 25 years, the firm has conducted more than 1,000 projects for Boards and CEOs at public, private equity owned, and family-owned businesses across a range of industries including consumer goods and services, financial services, healthcare, industrial, and technology. To learn more about RSR Partners, click here.
+1 (203) 618-7076
Todd Ruppert Succeeds Russell Reynolds as Chairman of RSR Partners
Greenwich, CT., June 15, 2022 – RSR Partners, a leading board recruiting and executive search firm, announced today that its founder, Russell S. Reynolds, Jr., 90, will transition from Executive Chairman to Chairman Emeritus. Russ will be succeeded by R. Todd Ruppert as Non-Executive Chairman.
Russ has been a pioneer in the executive search profession for more than 50 years. He served as Chairman of RSR Partners, which he founded in 1993, for nearly 30 years. He previously served as CEO and Chairman of his eponymous firm, Russell Reynolds Associates, which he founded in 1969.
Todd, 66, has been a member of RSR Partners’ Advisory Board for many years. He is currently the founder and CEO of Ruppert International, a firm with diversified interests globally in various fields including strategy consulting, financial services, disruptive technologies, publishing, arts and entertainment, and education. He retired from T. Rowe Price, the global asset management firm, where he was CEO and president of T. Rowe Price Global Investment Services, co-president, T. Rowe Price International, and a member of the operating steering committee of the T. Rowe Price group. Todd is a board member of and advisor to numerous firms globally. He is also the president of London’s Royal Parks Foundation (USA) and a board member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Todd served as a board member of INSEAD Business School from 2012-2021.
Russ and Todd will be honored at the annual Directors Dinner hosted by RSR Partners on October 19, 2022.
Commenting on the transition, Brett Stephens, the CEO of RSR Partners, stated, “The impact Russ has had on the industry, our firm, and me is immeasurable. We are honored that he will remain on our board and that we can continue to access his expertise and insight on finding and selecting the next generation of leaders. Todd is a compelling successor considering his success as an investor and entrepreneur, his breadth of global experience, and his intimate knowledge of our firm. We are confident that Todd will be instrumental in helping to position the firm for the future.”
“It is my privilege to join RSR Partners at this pivotal moment for the firm and for the broader profession,” stated Todd. “In my own ventures and as a member of the firm’s Advisory Board, I have experienced first-hand the transformative impact leadership can have on an organization and have admiration and respect for the professionals who excel in this field. I share Russ’ inspiring passion for executive search. The firm has gained tremendous value from his long-term industry perspective. On behalf of the firm and the board, we thank Russ for his leadership and for his tremendous contribution to the legacy of the firm and to the executive search profession.”
About RSR Partners
RSR Partners is a boutique professional services firm headquartered in Greenwich, CT, that specializes in helping Boards and CEOs with their most critical recruiting, selection, and succession needs. The company was founded in 1993 by industry icon, Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. The firm has conducted more than 1,000 projects for Boards and CEOs at public, private equity backed, and family-owned businesses across a range of industries including asset management, consumer goods and services, industrial, technology, and healthcare. To learn more about RSR Partners, click here.
+1 (203) 618-7076
RSR Partners Deepens Bench with Eric Douglas Keene
Chicago, IL., August 3, 2021 – RSR Partners, a leading board and executive search firm, has announced that Eric Douglas Keene has joined the firm’s Board & CEO Services practice as a Managing Director in Chicago.
Known for high quality and versatility, Eric brings more than 25 years of experience recruiting a range of board directors, C-suite level executives, and commercial leaders for clients throughout the U.S. He leads engagements across a variety of industries, including consumer products and goods, industrial technology, financial services, private equity, and healthcare and life sciences; and is a seasoned functional expert recruiter in the areas of strategy, human resources, marketing and sales, finance, operations, and information technology.
“Eric is a terrific addition to our Board & CEO Services practice,” said Brett Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of RSR. “He has successfully operated at the intersection of the boardroom and C-suite and has the experience and capabilities for building high performing and diverse teams.”
“I am drawn to RSR’s legacy and 30-year track record helping board and C-suite executives with their most important leadership needs,” stated Eric. “I look forward to offering my distinctive lens, both internally and externally, and to providing clients access to an enhanced network and an additional set of expertise and capabilities.”
Eric is the Founder & President of Keene Advisory Group. He previously served as a firm-wide leader on Diversity & Inclusion and was a member of the Consumer and Corporate Officers practices at Russell Reynolds Associates. Prior to Russell Reynolds Associates, Eric worked for McKinsey & Company, serving international clientele on issues of operations, organization, sales, and strategy.
A Shaker Heights native, Eric received his MBA as the Weatherhead Alumni Scholar from Case Western Reserve University and earned his BSc in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan.
About RSR Partners
RSR Partners is a boutique professional services firm headquartered in Greenwich, CT, that specializes in helping Boards and CEOs with their most critical recruiting, selection, and succession needs. The company was founded in 1993 by industry icon and Chairman, Russell S. Reynolds, Jr. Over the past 25 years, the firm has conducted more than 1,000 projects for Boards and CEOs at public, private equity owned, and family-owned businesses across a range of industries including consumer goods and services, financial services, healthcare, industrial, and technology. To learn more about RSR Partners, click here.
+1 (203) 618-7076