September 15, 2021 – ZRG, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has elected Hamilton Bradshaw CEO James Caan to its board of directors. Mr. Caan has made a personal seven-figure investment in the company. “We are thrilled to add James Caan to our board of directors,” said CEO Larry Hartmann. “He brings a global aspect to our board that is important as we continue our expansion. James will be a valuable resource to me in my role as CEO as someone who has successfully grown and scaled a global recruitment business. I look forward to his involvement in our future growth.”
Mr. Caan is considered a leading recruitment entrepreneur, having founded and exited talent solutions company Alexander Mann Solutions, and Humana International, which he grew to 147 offices across 30 countries. He also serves as chairman of the Start-up Loans Company, creating over 28,000 businesses to stimulate entrepreneurship in the U.K.
Mr. Caan brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the recruitment sector at a time when ZRG is experiencing unprecedented growth, both organic and through a number of strategic investments to further enhance its product offerings. Mr. Caan will join Mr. Hartmann and non-executive directors Hal Johnson, Loretta Penn and Terry Baker on the ZRG board of directors along with the board representation from the investors.
“I am excited about joining the ZRG board as they go through this incredible journey of success, with an exciting and ambitious plan over the next four years to become one of the largest search firms in the world,” said Mr. Caan. “I look forward to working alongside the company management team and fellow board members as the company looks to continue to grow its portfolio of businesses. Investing in the growth was a natural step after getting to know the team, and the successes they have achieved already.”
“ZRG has been a success story for RFE as we have organically grown the business and added five strategic acquisitions to the platform,” said Michael Rubel, managing director of RFE Investment Partners. “The opportunities to continue to expand globally align very well with the experiences that James Caan will bring to the ZRG board.”
Fast Growing Firm
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle-management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.
In July, ZRG acquired Walking the Talk, a consulting and advisory firm focused on culture transformation. Hunt Scanlon Ventures, based in Greenwich, Conn., facilitated the introduction and transaction between both organizations. Walking the Talk, headquartered in Amsterdam, specializes in enhancing performance results by aligning culture with strategy. Since the company was established 11 years ago, culture has landed firmly on the agenda of most executive teams and boards of directors. “Hiring top talent that aligns with a client’s culture objective has been a key success factor for ZRG,” said Mr. Hartmann. “With the addition of Walking the Talk, we will expand our consulting and talent solutions capabilities, helping our clients address challenging topics like change management and culture transformation.
In June, ZRG acquired Sucherman Group, a media and entertainment focused executive search firm. Founder Stuart Sucherman and CEO Erik Sorenson, both former media executives, will continue to lead the organization. “We are thrilled to add the premier team in the media space to the ZRG family,” said Mr. Hartmann. “They have built an incredible team and are content sector experts who bring clear value to every engagement. With our recent acquisition of Turnkey Sports, the boutique leader in the sports sector, adding the No. 1 boutique in media and entertainment broadens our market expertise and provides strong access to crossover talent in both areas.”
Hamilton Bradshaw is a private equity firm headquartered in London. The company, founded in 2003 by James Caan, was launched to serve as a leading advisor for investment in U.K. recruitment businesses. The firm specializes in advice for buyouts, venture capital, turnarounds, and investments in recruitment and real estate opportunities in the U.K.
The combination provides both organizations with access to new industries and products. Sucherman will adopt ZRG’s tech-enabled, data-driven approach to search — including its proprietary collaborative Zi platform and Z Score — enhancing the customized, hands-on approach for which the Sucherman team is known. Mr. Sorenson, a former president of MSNBC and former executive producer of the CBS Evening News, said: “Companies are navigating an increasingly complex environment in which people, culture and organizational design are more critical than ever to achieving business goals and managing business risk,” he said. “We are delighted to join with them to accelerate our collective growth in the media/entertainment space and beyond.”
Related: Hunt Scanlon Media Launches M&A Advisory Service for Recruiters
Earlier this year, ZRG made a major move into the sports, entertainment and media sectors by acquiring Turnkey Search. Renamed TurnkeyZRG, all Turnkey staff and assets have now merged into ZRG and the firm continues to be led by Len Perna, the founder, chairman, and CEO of the sports recruiting franchise. Turnkey is adopting ZRG’s tech-enabled, data-driven approach to the search process which it says will give the newly merged firm a competitive edge in the hunt for sports, media and entertainment talent. Mr. Hartmann called the deal a “blockbuster acquisition.”
Hunt Scanlon Ventures facilitated the introduction and transaction between ZRG and Turnkey, two perennial leaders in Hunt Scanlon’s rankings of executive search firms. “Len Perna built Turnkey into the most formidable sports recruiting brand in the nation,” said CEO Scott A. Scanlon at the time of the acquisition. “This combination allows ZRG to deliver its ‘Moneyball’ approach to sports and entertainment, using a proprietary Z Score ‘scorecard’ to leverage data and analytics into better hiring decisions,” he said. “Unlocking hidden value in talent and skills makes this the ultimate Moneyball team. It is a game-changer in sports and entertainment recruiting.”
Related: New State Capital Partners Takes Equity Stake in Klein Hersh
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media