Haas Alumni Network Partners with Heidrick & Struggles To Tap C-level Advisors


The Haas School is among a few select business schools teaming up with executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles to offer a new set of opportunities to senior executives and firms who want to tap the expertise of such executives. CalBusiness met with Lauren Doliva, managing partner of the firmís Chief Advisor Network, to learn more about the partnership.

Q. What is the Chief Advisor Network and how does it relate to the Haas School?

It's a select group of pre-assessed former C-level executives who are no longer interested in full-time permanent roles but are eager to still be engaged in business and are interested in taking on short-term assignments with our clients.

We're reaching out to Haas and other top business schools that may have alumni who fit our criteria and might be interested in participating in the network. It's an opportunity for those individuals to leverage their experience in business but on a more flexible basis.

The value for clients is the wisdom and objectivity they get from these C-level executives, who can come in and make an impact on their organizations in a very short period of time. Companies led by Haas alumni also can benefit from the opportunity to tap this network of advisors to solve talent gaps.

Q. Why did you create this network?

We started this new initiative to acknowledge the demographic challenge confronting all countries except India. In North America, for instance, Baby Boomers number 81 million, versus 46 million in Generation X. In the near future, there just isn't enough top talent to match the need.

But as we see the Baby Boomers cutting back, we don't think they're going to fully retire. We are, in fact, seeing many executives that want to do this, which gives them a more flexible, balanced lifestyle than a full-time position. We also are beginning to see organizations recognize the value of being able to get work done more efficiently by bringing in such business accelerators.

Q. How do you define senior- or C-level executive?

If it's a Fortune-level company, I would include everyone who has been in the executive suite through divisional leadership roles. Individuals at smaller companies would probably have to have held a C-level position, such as CEO, CFO, or CMO. We are looking for people who have something very specific to contribute to an organization and who are going to be able to make an impact.

Q. What kinds of projects do the executives typically work on?

They might serve in a transition or interim role or as an advisor to C-level executives or even founders. Or they might take on a consulting or project role.

Q. Can you give us some examples? Our first assignment was for a private equity firm looking for someone to lead a short-term turnaround. We gave them three candidates within 24 hours. They liked one of the individuals so much that they have been wooing him to take the job on a permanent basis, which he agreed to do for the next 2 1/2 years. We have also just placed a public company CFO to be an advisor for one of our clients in Korea.

We also had a very early-stage retail and online client. They were looking for an executive chairman to work two to three days a week helping the founders get things off the ground and raise money.

Q. What is the cost? There is no charge to the Haas alumni, or to other qualified members. Our clients pay a fee for our service in developing, identifying, assessing, and matching the right person to the company, the culture, and the objectives of the assignment.



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