Top Executive Recruiters

Top Search Firms releases a list of the Top Executive Recruiters each year, highlighting excellence in C-suite recruitment across several industries nationwide. The Top Executive Recruiters featured in our rankings are selected through an intensive evaluation process that relies on publicly available information.

Top Executive Search Firms

The recruiters highlighted herein are from some of the best executive search firms in the nation, including:

  1. ON PARTNERS Website
  2. Cowen Partners Executive Search Website
  3. Lucas Group Website
  4. Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc., Website
  5. Korn Ferry Website

Best Executive Recruiters in 2022

Intended to serve as a resource for companies and their leaders, this Top Executive Recruiter list provides insights, background information, opinions, and more that can help you select the best executive recruiter to meet your C-suite hiring needs, timeline, and objectives. To simplify your search and help you connect with extraordinary recruiting experts across the nation, we have divided our top executive recruiter rankings into areas of specialization.

  1. Top CEO and board executive recruiters
  2. Top finance executive recruiters
  3. Top sales and marketing executive recruiters
  4. Top healthcare executive recruiters
  5. Top technology executive recruiters

Disclaimer: While many of these top executive recruiters specialize in a few areas, we have grouped them into just one of our industry lists, with the recruiter bio explaining other areas of specialization.

Top CEO and Board Executive Recruiters

Specializing in board recruitment, leadership headhunting, and/or executive consulting services, here are some of the top CEO and board executive recruiters in the U.S.

Christophe Rosset (PageExecutive USA)

Christophe brings over 25 years of recruitment and line management experience to PageGroup. During his career, he has established himself as a trusted advisor to his clients and partners, thanks to his strategic planning and management consulting skills.

Dave Mullarkey (SPMB)

Dave joined SPMB in 1997 and became a Managing Partner in 2003. He has since played a key leadership role in the firm’s national and global growth, enabling SPMB to become one of the world’s leading mid-sized retained search firms.

Robert Peck (20/20 Foresight Executive Search)

Robert Peck is a Managing Principal at 20/20 Foresight, based out of the firm’s headquarters in Chicago. He has direct oversight of the firm’s New York, California, Texas, and Florida operations. With more than 19 years of experience in talent acquisition, he has successfully placed more than 400 executives at leading firms.  

Joe Hunt (Hunt Executive Search)

Joe is a Managing Partner and Global Practice Head of Hunt Executive Search and Hunt International. Joe has had an extremely successful career in both management consulting and the executive search & recruiting business for over 25 years. As an actively engaged Partner is the business, Joe continues to personally conduct searches and has successfully completed more than 500 senior executive level assignments globally.

Dudley Morton (Major, Lindsey & Africa)

As a Managing Director with In-House Counsel Recruiting, Dudley Morton guides legal departments through the hiring process, identifying top lawyers and compliance and privacy professionals to build out world-class legal teams. Dudley’s combination of advisory expertise, vast legal background, and extensive retained search experience equip him to truly understand an organization and find the best professional and cultural fit.

Jay Berger (Morris & Berger)

Along with Kristine Morris, Jay Berger formed Morris & Berger nearly 35 years ago, with the goal of helping highly qualified candidates become transformative leaders by placing them in a variety of nonprofit organizations. Prior to this, Jay served for 17 years at the University of Southern California – first, as Director of Admissions and later as Assistant Vice President for Development. He also earned his bachelors, masters, and Ph.D. from the University. Many of the skills Jay acquired while working at USC – interviewing and assessing applicants, strategizing to enhance the university’s applicant pool, facilitating the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors – serve him well in his current role.

Robert Stark (Spencer Stuart)

Robert Stark co-leads Spencer Stuart’s CEO Succession advisory services. He has guided more than 80 boards through the CEO succession process and assessed over 300 CEOs and CEO candidates. Robert leverages more than 25 years of executive assessment and development experience to explore and bring to light the capabilities and potential of executive talent and accelerate their development and CEO-readiness.

Jeffrey Sanders (Heidrick & Struggles)

Jeff Sanders is a vice chair and co-managing partner of the global CEO & Board of Directors Practice for Heidrick & Struggles. His primary focus is assisting high-impact companies with CEO and board succession.

Julie Hembrock-Daum (Spencer Stuart)

Julie Hembrock Daum leads the North American Board Practice of Spencer Stuart and was a long-standing board member. She consults with corporate boards, working with companies of all sizes from Fortune 10 to pre-IPO companies. She has conducted more than 1,500 board director assignments.

Kristine Johnson (Spencer Stuart)

As a senior member of the firm’s Education, Nonprofit & Government Practice, Kristine leads the practice on the West Coast while serving clients globally. As an industry leader in nonprofit board and executive transition management, Kristine has built a reputation for providing trusted advice and guidance to clients across all education, nonprofit and government sectors and executive functional areas.

Laura Neville (Heidrick & Struggles)

Laura Leigh Neville is a principal in Heidrick & Struggles’ New York and Stamford offices. She advises senior leadership teams on organizational acceleration—driving a connection between cultures, leaders, and teams—to achieve strategic objectives.

Gary Burnison (Korn Ferry)

Gary Burnison is the CEO of Korn Ferry. Under his leadership, Korn Ferry has been transformed into a global organizational consulting firm with nearly 9,000 colleagues.

Kevin Connelly (Spencer Stuart)

Kevin Connelly is a seasoned search professional and consults with clients on executive leadership succession and board projects. Previously, he was the chief executive officer of Spencer Stuart and prior to that, served as chairman of the firm for six years. As CEO, Kevin had focused Spencer Stuart on delivering differentially better outcomes, measured in terms of the leadership performance, cultural fit, and durability of the executives selected. As a result of these experiences, Kevin is able to bring firsthand perspectives to his work.

George Anderson (Spencer Stuart)

George advises boards and conducts searches for directors. He leads Spencer Stuart’s Board Effectiveness Practice in North America, consulting with CEOs and boards on governance matters such as board composition, director recruitment and onboarding, board and director annual assessment, and CEO succession. He is a recipient of Spencer Stuart’s Lou Rieger Quality Award for outstanding client service.

Michael Singleton (Russell Reynolds)

Michael Singleton conducts high-profile searches for cultural, philanthropic and educational institutions. Based in New York, Michael excels at working with organizations looking to make an impact in their communities. His clients include organizations across the fine arts, performing arts, public media, natural history, STEAM, education, and philanthropic landscape. 

Glenner Sugiyama (DHR Global)

Described by Forbes magazine as “one of the most influential men in college athletics,” Glenn is credited with building one of the largest and most renowned Sports Practice Groups in the world. Since 2004, he has been placing talent in professional sports organizations and for the top academic institutions in the U.S. and around the world, including senior sports executives and head coaches. He is based in Chicago.

John Amer (Korn Ferry)

Mr. Amer leads Korn Ferry’s Legal Center of Expertise in the Western U.S. and is also actively involved in the Firm’s Education Practice, performing higher education searches throughout the country. He has developed leadership solutions for Fortune 500 corporations, global law firms, leading educational institutions, as well as start-up and high-growth companies in various industries.

Nzinga Shaw (ZRG Partners)

Nzinga “Zing” Shaw joined ZRG in 2021 and is the Global Practice Group Leader and Managing Director of the DEI/ESG Practice and the Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer for ZRG.

Top Finance Executive Recruiters

Exceptional executive recruiters specializing in CFO search, as well as C-suite recruitment in the finance industry, include the following professionals.

Emily Taylor (Russell Reynolds)

Emily Taylor leads executive searches for financial funds with a particular focus on senior-level investment professionals. Based in London, Emily co-leads the global Private Equity Practice for Russell Reynolds Associates and is a member of the firm’s global Financial Services Sector.

Shawn Cole (Cowen Partners Executive Search)

Shawn is President and Co-Founder of Cowen Partners, a national executive search firm focused on the key elements of a successful business: sales, marketing, and finance. Business clients across the country trust Cowen Partners to take their companies to the next level by finding them executive talent, such as a CEO, CFO, COO, Chief Revenue Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer.

Clients are both small and large, publicly traded, pre-IPO, private, and non-profit organizations, typically $50 million to multi-billion-dollar revenue Fortune 1000 companies or have assets between $1 billion and $15 billion.

William O’Leary (Heidrick & Struggles)

Bill O’Leary is the partner in charge of Heidrick & Struggles’ Washington D.C. office and a member of the CEO & Board of Directors; Legal, Risk, Compliance & Government Affairs; Financial Services; Associations; and Social Impact practices. He focuses on talent and leadership advisory efforts at the CEO, board, and c-suite roles that are at the intersection of policy, advocacy, and business. He specializes in the areas of external affairs, corporate affairs, government affairs, communications, and marketing.

Rebecca Wilson (20/20 Foresight Executive Search)

Rebecca is Managing Director of 20/20 Foresight Executive Search and its sister company 20/20 Foresight Executive Marketing. She heads up the New York office and covers searches nationwide. She brings more than 25 years of operational, marketing, and strategic consulting experience to her executive search practice. Her search expertise includes real estate, private equity, and financial services.

Steve Mader (ON Partners)

Steve Mader has dedicated the past 17 years to leadership and talent consulting strictly at the boardroom level, resulting in over 350 board Director and CEO appointments. Clients range from Fortune 50 to private equity boards, named 8 consecutive years as one of the 100 most influential executives in America’s boardrooms by the National Association of Corporate Directors. A lifelong student of situational leadership with over 35 years of high-end executive talent consulting.

Caitlin Fitzgerald (Heidrick & Struggles)

Caitlin FitzGerald is a principal in Heidrick & Struggles’ New York office and a member of the CEO & Board of Directors Practice. She specializes in assisting publicly traded, private equity, and venture-backed companies with CEO, board, and other senior-level searches.

Heather Hammond (Russell Reynolds)

Heather Hammond Co-Leads the Global Private Equity Practice for Russell Reynolds. She leads executive searches for funds and their portfolio companies, including investment leaders, senior fundraising professionals, value creation leaders, business development and capital markets professionals, operating partners and advisors.

Top Sales & Marketing Executive Recruiters

Exceptional executive recruiters specializing in the sales and marketing space include the following professionals.

Steve Kirch (Vaco)

Steve was born and raised in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!). He comes to Vaco with more than 10 years of sales and business development experience. When he’s not working, he enjoys adding to his ever-expanding music collection.

Robert Kahn (Green Key Resources)

Robert Kahn is Co-founder- Green Key Resources is a premier executive recruitment firm that operates in numerous verticals across multiple locations throughout the U.S. Green Key Resources cares deeply about developing personal, lasting relationships with our clients. Our recruitment team consists of seasoned, passionate professionals who leverage intricate industry knowledge and an incredible network to find talented people and align them with the right career. People, not just candidates. Careers, not just jobs. We look at recruitment as a philosophy, and our recruiters are dedicated to a holistic approach in which we first consider the big picture and then go on to match skills, goals, dreams, corporate culture, and more.

Ash Wendt (Cowen Partners Executive Search)

As a founding partner of Cowen Partners, Ash Wendt has drawn on his career experience in sales and executive recruiting to build a vibrant, dynamic firm. His results-driven approach is rooted in discipline and strength of purpose and the belief that Cowen Partners fulfills a need across industries. He excels in developing strategic processes to hire top-level talent for a variety of clients.

Greg Welch (Spencer Stuart)

Now based in the firm’s Miami office, Greg Welch is a core member of the Firms CEO, CMO and Board Services practices. He also remains a key member of the Consumer Practice whereby he served as its global practice leader for five years. Most recently, he also led the Marketing, Sales & Communications practice in North America. Additionally, his personal leadership advisory work makes him an active member within the firms Private Equity practice.

Michael Flagg (Heidrick & Struggles)

Michael J. Flagg is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ Washington D.C. office focusing on chief executive officer, non-executive director, chief financial officer, and chief marketing officer roles for both public and private communications and technology industry clients. He has been with Heidrick & Struggles for more than 15 years and has led the Technology Practice as the global managing partner.

Matthew Goldstein (True Search)

Matt has over 15 years of search, business development and marketing experience for high-growth technology companies across the U.S. and Europe.

Retail & Consumer Goods Executive Recruiters

Exceptional executive recruiters specializing in the retail, consumer goods, and CPG space include the following professionals.

Peter Lawson (Stanton Chase International)

As a managing director of Stanton Chase, Peter works with clients on board, C-level, and other senior executive searches, focusing on consumer products & services, the industrial sector, and diversity & inclusion across all industries. He also works with clients on leadership transformation and succession planning.

Ann Maccarthy (E.A. Hughes)

Ann MacCarthy has spent more than 20 years recruiting the most talented CEOs and other C-suite and VP-level executives for her clients across all channels of distribution. People in the retail and consumer industry sectors she serves recognize that her ability to partner effectively is built on her insider experience as CHRO for Gestetner PLC and in senior HR positions at Sara Lee and U.S. Industries Apparel Group, as well as her role as managing director with Cook Associates’ Consumer Practice and Columbia Consulting Group.

Heather Okeefe (Egon Zehnder)

Heather O’Keefe leads Egon Zehnder’s U.S. Family Business Advisory Practice. She is also an active member of the Firm’s Consumer, Board and Chief Executive Officers practices. She partners with family and founder-led clients on succession planning, board, and executive recruiting. She also advises consumer products clients on CEO/GM, board, marketing, and commercial roles, in addition to management assessments, succession and org design.

Susan Hart (Spencer Stuart)

Susan Hart is a core member of Spencer Stuart’s North American Board and CEO practices, and leads the firm’s global Retail, Apparel and Luxury Goods Practice. She specializes in the recruitment of CEOs and board directors within the consumer and retail sectors.

Top Healthcare Executive Recruiters

Exceptional executive recruiters specializing in the healthcare space include the following professionals.

Brian Krehbiel (WittKieffer)

With more than 25 years of experience, Brian Krehbiel is a recognized expert on talent strategy and interim leadership. In his role leading WittKieffer’s Interim Leadership Practice, Brian provides clients with insight and guidance on utilizing interim executives to provide leadership continuity and position executive teams for the future. Brian identifies interim CEOs, COOs, CFOs and other key positions for hospitals, health systems and related organizations.

Grant Cooper (Diversified Search)

Grant Cooper’s comprehensive approach to talent acquisition and recruitment places us in an elite position among top healthcare executive search firms. We work extensively with academic medical centers, integrated delivery systems, physician groups, children’s hospitals, managed care organizations, and community-based medical centers.

Mark Furman (Spencer Stuart)

A core member of Spencer Stuart’s Healthcare Practice, Dr. Mark I. Furman advises many of the world’s leading academic medical institutions, integrated health delivery systems, nonprofits, and biopharmaceutical companies on leadership strategy and needs. Mark specializes in counseling physicians, scientists, and clinicians on their leadership journeys to improve the healthcare industry. He is an academic cardiologist who brings more than 25 years of experience in clinical care, hospital leadership, research, and education to his role as a leadership advisor and a search professional.

Brian Cole (MedTech Executive Search)

Brian started and grew the highly successful Medical Device Practice as Managing Partner at Kaye/Bassman International Corp, the 9th largest retained search firm in the US prior to founding MedTech Executive Search in 2016. He quickly leveraged his reputation and deep network of relationships to become the youngest firm listed by Forbes as Americas Best Executive Recruiting Firms.

Prior to that, Brian founded Medical Device Recruiters, which became a leading boutique search firm within the Medical Device industry. He began his career within the Medical Device industry in 1991 while working for Lukens Medical Corporation.

Katie Bell (Korn Ferry)

Ms. Bell brings more than 20 years of experience supporting multi-site health care services companies, hospitals, integrated delivery networks, payers, health care technology companies, and academic health systems.

Robert Palermo (Beacon Hill)

Mr. Palermo is responsible for building and leading Beacon Hill Health & Clinical Resources, a practice area of Beacon Hill Life Sciences, as well as selling to local and national accounts based out of New York City, NY. His experience and specialty includes selling and leading staffing initiatives within Healthcare.

Prior to Beacon Hill, Mr. Palermo was responsible for nationwide business development, as well as building sales and recruitment teams, for the healthcare division of a national staffing company. His dedication to customer service and team building allowed him to grow his career into leadership within a few years of entering the healthcare staffing field, with his efforts resulting in the significant expansion of his division. Mr. Palermo received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources and Psychology from Rutgers University.

Paula Rutledge (Legacy MedSearch)

Paula founded Legacy MedSearch in 2005 after a 22-year career as a prominent medical device sales executive within leading Medical Device companies as Johnson & Johnson, Synthes, Zimmer Spine, and GE Healthcare.

Peter Gallagher (Egon Zehnder)

Peter Gallagher, based in New York, is a core member of Egon Zehnder’s Health Practice. Drawing on diverse biopharma industry experience in commercial, strategic and operational roles, Peter advises CEOs and leadership teams of healthcare services and life sciences companies on the assessment and development of executive talent.

Josh Albert (Klein Hersch)

Josh and his team have immersed themselves within the life science marketplace with a vision of better understanding the subtle intricacies of their clients’ needs and their candidates’ ambitions. Through this understanding, and a passion to identify the most highly sought-after scientific leaders, Klein Hersh has been recognized as one of the preeminent scientific search partners.

Cliff Miras (Cornerstone Search)

Cliff co-founded Cornerstone Search Group in 2000. He is a Managing Partner of the firm and actively executes executive search assignments for Life Science Companies ranging from lesser-known discovery-stage biotech companies to some of the largest global pharmaceutical industry leaders.

Top Technology Executive Recruiters

Exceptional executive recruiters specializing in the technology space include the following professionals.

Summer Anderson (ZRG Partners)

For more than 20 years, Summer Anderson has been spearheading executive searches around the globe. She has a proven track record of guiding executive-level leaders to immediate clarity, simplifying complex organizational matters, and building exceptional executive teams. She is a trusted advisor to senior executive clients and candidates within Fortune 500 security, technology, and fast growth companies. Summer is known for her solid network of long-standing relationships and as a catalyst for mindset shifts in corporate leaders which create cultural health and bottom-line growth.

Eric Barker (ZRG Partners)

With more than 11 years of experience in executive search and leadership consulting, Eric’s expertise spans a number of functional areas including C-Suite, technology, operations, risk, sales, data, and analytics. He has successfully completed senior-level executive search assignments and consulting projects for both publicly held and privately-owned companies across a variety of industries including Fintech, Private Equity, Venture Capital, Financial Services, Professional Services, Insurance, and Technology.

Fran Helms (Korn Ferry)

Fran’s executive search and leadership advisory work focuses on addressing top talent needs at the crossroads of technology and entertainment with an emphasis on consumer-oriented products and content-driven services – including new digital media platforms as well as traditional entertainment.

Joe Gross (CIO Partners)

With over 30 years of experience in the technology sector, Joe Gross brings a wealth of hands-on experience to his global clients and to his local community.  Clients and colleagues cite his ability to build solid, sound relationships and process-oriented approach as his hallmark qualities of success.

Brad Stradler (True Search)

Brad is co-CEO and founder of True, a global platform of human capital products and services with offices in North America, EMEA and APAC.  In this role he sets the firm’s strategic direction and oversees the management of its subsidiary brands.  He brings more than 15 years of experience to select board and CEO searches for growth stage technology businesses.

Robert Tillman (DHR Global)

Rob serves as Managing Partner of DHR’s Global Financial Officer Practice and is a member of the Advanced Technology and Private Equity Practice Groups. He is an experienced executive recruiter and leadership coach, having served with three of the world’s largest executive search firms and led two of the country’s leading boutiques.

Tracey Collins (Korn Ferry)

Ms. Collins has more than twenty years of experience in talent acquisition leading large scale teams, supporting technology adoption and designing change management initiatives.  Her passion for people, process and innovation has served her well throughout her career and afforded the opportunity to help several organizations achieve success with their projects and initiatives.

Kelly Okay (Heidrick & Struggles)

Kelly O. Kay is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles’ San Francisco office and manages the global. Software Practice. He conducts enterprise software searches worldwide for a wide range of technology companies and has extensive experience with private equity-backed growth companies, late-stage private, and a range of public companies from $100M to $100B.

Zachary Crist Zachary (CristKolder)

Crist is a Principal of Crist|Kolder Associates. He has over 13 years of search experience with the firm. He is a member of the firm’s CFO practice and the firm’s Technology practice. He supports search execution activities and research. Zach joined the firm in 2008, as Director of Technology managing the technology and information data aspects of the firm and now spends the majority of his time in search activities. Zach graduated from Elmhurst University with a B.A. in History and Information Systems; he followed that with an M.S. in Computer Science and an M.B.A. from Elmhurst.