The Altered Landscape for Executive Search in the Technology, Communications and Media Sector


The landscape for executive search in the Technology, Communications and Media Sector is markedly changed as we emerge from the global recession. Computing Systems, Software, Communications Services and Technologies, Digital Media, E-Commerce and IT each face its own business challenges and opportunities, which will impact executive search in the sector. In a recent BlueSteps Tele-Seminar, senior executive search consultants from AESC member search firms discussed how the sector has restructured, the outlook for further changes and growth, the likelihood of leadership changes and talent shortages, and the impact of globalization.

Moderator: Peter Felix, President, AESC

Executive Search Firm Panelists:

  • David Finke, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds
  • Anthony Laudico, Partner, Spencer Stuart
  • Aaron Lapat, Managing Director, J. Robert Scott
  • Martin Noakes, Partner, CTPartners

The technology, communications and media sectors are undergoing quite significant change as we emerge from the global recession, with the Quarter 1 2010 Search Industry Report from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) showing the technology sector had year on year growth of 37%. In this changing landscape, moderator Peter Felix asked the executive search panelists to comment on the changes they have seen. David Finke of Russell Reynolds agreed that business is up, compared to the state of the industry in 2009, when clients were hunkering down and re-evaluating how to compete and survive.

Anthony Laudico of Spencer Stuart agreed on the enormous amount of change seen recently, noting that “Companies are continuing to innovate and introduce new products and technologies”. He used the example of e-commerce, which has moved from what was seen as a complementary channel, to one that can be used for growth, with internet branding, CRM software and membership tracking becoming more and more important. This relates to a surge of recent articles outlining that technology has become strategic.

Within venture capital and private equity firms, Aaron Lapat of J.Robert Scott cautioned that many are still waiting for the dust to settle, although most of the major players are now back, “with a meaningful uptick in activity, with a tremendous amount of innovation happening”. Despite some caution, this is exciting news for those looking to change executive positions.

Martin Noakes of CTPartners offered a European viewpoint that was quietly optimistic, noting that “As we start to come out of this recession, Europe in particular is showing signs of potential….there are pockets that are exciting – Emerging Markets, Eastern Europe, Israel is very hot, Turkey has some really interesting things going on”. It is clear that senior executives looking to make their next executive career move within Europe must look beyond the Northern and Western regions, and although relocation is often a concern for those changing executive positions, candidates will increasingly be required to consider executive opportunities on a global scale.

The panelists then went on to discuss what will be seen within this industry in the next 5 years, how companies are finding the executive talent they need, the evolution of international executive job opportunities and the single most important attribute that hiring organizations look for in C-Suite executive candidates.

BlueSteps has over 9,000 executive members in the technology sector - a full review of the Tele-Seminar is available to all BlueSteps members within the BlueSteps Career Channel.

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