Executive search giant Heidrick & Struggles moves in on Irish market

Firm sees strength as luring Irish executives abroad and other managers to Ireland

Stafford Bagot: Irish-Australian has been appointed head of Heidrick & Struggles new operation in Dublin.

Stafford Bagot: Irish-Australian has been appointed head of Heidrick & Struggles new operation in Dublin.

 

Chicago-headquartered executive search group Heidrick & Struggles opened an office in Dublin this week as competition in the headhunting market continues to hot up.

The company has appointed Stafford Bagot, an Irish-Australian who has worked for the group in Sydney and Singapore over the course of 12 years, as head of the operation, which is focused on finding chairmen and women, chief executives and other top officials for large companies.

“We have seen an enormous opportunity to support Irish businesses, particularly those who are keen to grow their operations globally,” said Mr Bagot, adding that the firm sees its strength as being able to attract Irish executives based overseas and international senior managers to Ireland.

The development follows on from US rival Korn Ferry’s ramping up of its Irish operation in recent years and London-based headhunting group Odger Berndtson setting up a base in Dublin in late 2017 in a booming economy. Executive search in Ireland was traditionally carried out by arms of the big accountancy firms and established local companies like Merc.

Corporate cultures

Mr Bagot, who previously worked for Merc and EY in Dublin during the Celtic Tiger days between 1998 and 2006, said that Irish boards were placing priorities on improving gender diversity and corporate cultures in headhunting mandates.

The Central Bank is putting more pressure on the boards of financial firms to improve their cultures and build companies that put a premium on workers acting with honesty and integrity.

It follows on from a report published by the regulator last year in the wake of the tracker-mortgage scandal, which found that top banking executives retained too much of a crisis-era “firefighting” mindset to place customers at the heart of all decisions. “We think a big growth area for us is our ability to help influence the culture of client companies,” said Mr Bagot.

Heidrick & Struggles currently has three staff in the Dublin office and expects this to at least treble over the next two years.