3 Reasons A Former Consumer Packaged Goods Executive is a Great Fit for the Department of Veterans Affairs

Joe Carideo

by Joe Carideo

Earlier this week, President Obama announced he will nominate former Proctor & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to lead the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Should we be surprised that the President chose someone outside of the public sector to clean up the VA? I don’t think so. In fact, an executive from the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) sector is a logical fit for a number of reasons:

1. CPG leaders are accustomed to running large, multi-facility, organizations.

Throughout the congressional hearings about the VA’s latest debacles, it’s become clear that structure of the VA – dispersed and hierarchical – created challenges for their leadership. McDonald, and any other executive from the CPG sector or the industrial sector (GE, 3M, for example), have experience operating large companies that span the globe, reaching billions of customers and managing hundreds of thousands of employees. The VA needs a leader that can navigate bureaucracy and make ground-level improvements.

2. CPG Executives Are Focused on Constant Performance Measurement.

In the CPG sector, performance is top-of-mind, as executives receive sales reports on daily basis. A constant stream of performance data can be overwhelming, but successful CPG leaders know how to work with their leadership teams to balance daily performance management with long-term strategic goals. For McDonald, the key will be creating a meritocracy within the VA, cleaning up the performance measurement processes, and fostering a performance-driven culture.

3. CPG Executives Are Accountable to Multiple Stakeholders.

When corporate executives move to the public sector, some can’t handle the red tape and interference by Congress. However, McDonald, and other executives with similar backgrounds, know what it’s like to be accountable to multiple stakeholders with competing interests: shareholders, employees, and customers. McDonald will need to improve the VA’s reputation with taxpayers (his experience with branding will help), meet Congressional demands, and, most importantly, ensure that the VA is providing excellent services to veterans and their families.

Why You Should Do More Than Just Talk About Workplace Diversity

Susan Medina and Peter Gomez, Battalia Winston’s experts in Diversity and Inclusion, are featured in Fast Company with their article, “Why You Should Do More Than Just Talk About Workplace Diversity.”

Responding to Google’s recent disclosures about their homogenous workforce and renewed diversity and inclusion efforts, Medina and Gomez warn companies of common diversity-recruiting pitfalls and urge corporate leaders who are dedicated to sustained diversity to think strategically about talent development, retention, mentorship, and succession planning.

Read the article on Fast Company.

Press Release – Battalia Winston Helps ALPFA Land New CEO

New York, New York — Battalia Winston, a leading executive search firm, has helped ALPFA, one of the nation’s largest and most established Latino professional organizations, select Charles P. Garcia to succeed longtime CEO Manny Espinoza as its new Chief Executive Officer.

ALPFA retained Susan Medina of Battalia Winston, an expert in Diversity and Inclusion, to lead the national search. Medina worked closely with ALPFA leadership to understand their requirements, culture, and mission, before conducting an extensive review of qualified talent.

Mr. Garcia recently served as CEO of Garcia Trujillo Holdings LLC, a merchant banking, private equity, and consulting firm, where he was recognized as one of the leading advisors to businesses in the global Hispanic market.  He’s served in the administrations of multiple American presidents, is a best-selling author, and has been praised by Hispanic Business, Latino Leaders, and PODER as one of the most influential Hispanics in the United States for his contributions to the expansion of Latino influence and reputation.

“I’m very proud that Battalia Winston was able to facilitate this match,” says Medina. “We’re confident that Charles will contribute to ALPFA’s success. His professional experience and public service demonstrate his commitment to developing business leaders in the Latino community.”

About Battalia Winston:

Battalia Winston has been successfully meeting client needs in executive recruitment for 50 years and is currently ranked as one of the nation’s 20 largest retained executive search firms, as well as one of the world’s largest woman-owned search firms.  Headquartered in New York City, the firm also has offices in New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Battalia Winston is an agile and uniquely flexible firm, and their culture is focused on providing highly personalized, responsive client service.

Succession Planning for the Family Business: Hiring a Non-Family CEO

 Rich-Folts-picture1 walton-bruce
 Rich Folts  Bruce Walton

by Rich Folts and Bruce Walton

Succession planning has always been a critical concern for family business owners, but in the past few years we’ve seen a surge in the number of family businesses searching for new leadership. This uptick in succession planning is the result of two converging factors. First, the boomer generation is reaching retirement age. Boomer entrepreneurs who started businesses early in life are thinking about passing the baton. However, the economic recession forced many family-owned businesses to delay succession planning. Now that the economy is showing signs of a rebound, owners are beginning to actively discuss succession strategies.

We’re now seeing the release of this pent-up demand for new leadership, and many businesses are bringing in non-family executives in the absence of a qualified or interested family successor. Family business owners and their advisors feel a sense of urgency and want to act swiftly. But a hurried succession plan is destined to fail. Based on our experience recruiting external executives to family businesses for decades, we recommend following these best practices:

  •  Start early. The family must begin to formulate a succession strategy well before the chairman is ready to step down. Ideally, the planning would begin when the chairman is in his/her early 60s in order to ensure a smooth transition before s/he reaches 70 or has a health issue. Waiting until the chairman is any older can cause emotional complications (e.g. the owner’s identity is too enmeshed in their professional role, which ultimately hinders the transition and hurts the value of the enterprise) and practical complications (e.g. the chairman develops health problems that force an unplanned transition).
  • Seek Expert Help. Every family business is different, and the particularities of organizational structure and family dynamics can lead to complex business challenges, especially when bringing in an outside hire. At the very least, family businesses should build an advisory board to provide outside, unbiased perspective. The business owners should engage a family business advisor who combines expertise in family systems, psychology and business governance.
  • Establish Appropriate Incentives. Hiring a leader from outside of the organization can energize a business, but it requires both the right skills and temperament. To attract the right type of candidate, family business owners must provide a way for the CEO to share in the value they create. Doing so will attract candidates who have both the ability and the desire to grow the business.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of implementing these best practices, we’d like to share two case studies. In both cases, bringing in an outside executive resulted in a thriving business and a happier (and wealthier) family business owner.

Case Study: Regional Distribution Company

Several years ago Rich Folts worked with a family-owned regional distribution business. The chairman wasn’t quite ready to step down, but he wanted to prepare for his impending retirement. The executive team who had helped build the business were also interested in retiring.  With no obvious successor in line, the chairman worked with Rich to find a new CEO who had the vision and experience to both maintain the culture and build the necessary infrastructure to move the company from a regional to a national distribution business.  We hired a seasoned CEO who had prior experience growing two similar regional distribution businesses into national organizations and was looking to continue this pattern by purchasing a regional franchise business.  This opportunity fit perfectly into his plan and removed the financing issues associated with an actual purchase.  We set up a strategic incentive plan: After ten years, the new CEO could accept a substantial buyout, sell the company, or walk away. In the meantime, the family maintained ownership.

In the six years since being recruited to the company, the new CEO has

  • Doubled top line revenues
  • More than doubled shareholder value
  • Expanded the business from a regional to a national distributor

Because the family business started early and created an enticing, effective long-term incentive plan, the transition has been a success for all parties involved.

Case Study: Global Manufacturer of Engineered Industrial Components

Bruce Walton partnered with a $70 million company that produces engineered industrial components for major companies like HP, Toyota, and Bosch. While the chairperson was family and there were other family branches represented on the board, there was no remaining family in the business, and they had suffered losses for a number of years.

The company had an ESOP, and the family expressed mistrust of the previous CEO. We were looking for a transformative CEO to restore profitability and the family’s trust. We brought in an innovative CEO who had been working in Germany for a mid-cap private manufacturing company where he had been well-trained by a very professional German board chair. With children approaching school age, his family was ready to return to the US.

The new CEO was able to return the business to profitability within nine months. In just under five years, the CEO’s leadership has led to a significant increase in the new business pipeline, resulting in 70% more revenue and an expectation of doubling revenue by the seven year mark. With a focus on “doing things right” and investing in human capital, profitability is healthy and the ESOP share value has already doubled.

For more information about effective succession planning for family-owned businesses, contact Rich Folts or Bruce Walton.

Must-Have Capabilities of Today’s Chief Nursing Officer


by Debra Pollick, RN, MS

As the healthcare industry reshapes itself in response to the Affordable Care Act, nurses – the employees on the front-lines of healthcare – will be one of the most impacted groups. The most effective hospitals will employ teams of efficient, talented nurses, and in order to build teams deserving of that designation, they’ll also need to employ highly skilled and effective Chief Nursing Officers.

The Chief Nursing Officer role is a big one – one that’s changed quite a bit over the past decade. Today’s CNO needs to be prepared to tackle the following priorities:

Organization-wide Strategy

In the 1970s and 80s the Chief Nursing Officer role was called the VP of Patient Care Services. At that time, the nursing field was composed almost exclusively of women, and the CNO was rarely included in strategy planning or major hospital decisions. The nursing group was often forced to operate in its own silo, not allowed to participate in larger discussions about hospital strategy.

Fortunately, the playing field is leveling, and CNO’s are now gaining seats at the table with other C-level executives, increasingly playing a role resembling a Chief Operating Officer. Now they must be able to think strategically about larger hospital objectives. Moreover, since more departments – radiology, laboratory, and case management, for example – fall under the CNOs span of control, s/he needs to represent those voices at the table. The CNO must be able to collaborate with other hospital departments, serve as an advocate for the teams s/he oversees, and understand how the nursing department’s performance impacts the hospital.

Talent Management and Development

The newest generation of nurses will be caring for a dramatically different type of patient. Because the Affordable Care Act makes preventative care more accessible, those patients that do need hospital care will be much sicker. The quantity of patients will decrease, but the level of care required will increase. As a result, nurses will need to focus less on productivity and more on quality of care. The CNO must be able to identify and hire highly talented nurses, but must also be able to retain those nurses and dedicate the required resources to invest in their development and continuing education.

Understanding the Economics of Healthcare

Because ACA regulations hold hospitals accountable for the quality of patient care, there are financial implications of nurses’ daily decisions. The Chief Nursing Officer must understand the long-term consequences of the services nurses provide. S/he must be able to relay the financial risks associated with poor care to her counterparts in hospital administration and strategize how to effectively mitigate those risks.

Succession Planning

In addition to building a highly talented team, a CNO must think about developing a pool of qualified candidates to step into the CNO role. Today’s CNOs are largely in their late 50s and 60s, nearing retirement age, so succession planning should be top of mind. Additionally, many young nurses are taking specialty tracks, like informatics and nurse practitioning, so it will become increasingly important to identify nurses that are both focused on high-quality care and interested in entering a leadership position.

Happy Days Are Here Again: 2013 Battalia Winston, Executive Search Firm’s Annual Survey Finds Corporate Holiday Parties Are Near an All-Time High

NEW YORK, N.Y., Nov. 25, 2013– More companies will return to their tradition of holding holiday parties this year, according to the 25th annual survey of corporate America’s holiday party plans conducted by Battalia Winston, a leading global executive search firm.

An astonishing 96 percent of the companies polled will have parties this year – this is the highest percentage since 1997 – up from 91 percent in 2012, 74 percent in 2011, 79 percent in 2010, 81 percent in 2009 and 81 percent in 2008.

Holiday parties were held by 95 percent of companies in 1988, the first year of the survey, and an all-time high of 97 percent was recorded in 1996 and in 1997, all years when the economy was robust.

“The Battalia Winston survey has served as a bellwether for the economy over the past 25 years, and this year is no exception,” said Dale Winston, Battalia Winston’s Chairwoman and CEO.

“Our findings reflect an increasing confidence in the economy. Although only 6 percent of those having parties are having more lavish events. The parties are back but the champagne and caviar are no longer flowing,” said Winston.

2013 Survey Findings:

2014 Planning: As companies make plans for 2014, almost three quarters (70 percent) of respondents say they’re on track to “grow and hire” next year – up from 66 percent in 2012; less than a quarter (18 percent) expect their company’s performance will stay the same as 2013. Only 6 percent are uncertain and 6 percent are planning to consolidate.

What’s the reason this season? Nearly half (42 percent) are having holiday parties to boost employee morale, while slightly more than a third (38 percent) are holding a party to celebrate 2013 as a good year, and 7 percent to show employees and clients that they are optimistic about next year. 16 percent of companies selected “other” and indicated that they would be staying true to “tradition”, for the obvious reason of simply “celebrating the holidays”, and some even confidently said because they “persevered”.

Why no celebration? Of the 4 percent of companies not holding a holiday party this year, half (50 percent) said that it’s just not in the budget this year and the other half (50 percent) said that they felt it was “politically inappropriate”.

Who’s invited? A majority (76 percent) of the parties will be for employees only, while 18 percent will be held for both employees and their families.

The budget: A majority of the parties (83 percent) said that their party will be the same as previous years, 10 percent will more modest and 7 percent will be more lavish.

When and where? Of the companies holding parties, slightly less than half (43 percent) will be held in the evening and 47 percent will be at lunch. The trend towards daytime parties continues.

Drink up — if you can: Drinks will be served at most (72 percent) parties, but some are staying dry (28 percent) and will be alcohol-free.

Tis the season to be generous: Slightly more than half (54 percent) of the companies are donating money or goods (up from 51 percent last year, 39 percent in 2011, 47 percent in 2010, and 66 percent in 2009), employees at 15 percent of the firms will be doing volunteer work. 23 percent of the companies aren’t involved in holiday charitable activities.

Employee morale is still important: A majority (66 percent) of companies are taking steps to boost employee morale for the year to come (e.g. flexible work schedules, performance incentives, pay raises, team building/training, etc.), leaving only 17 percent of companies that have no such plans. 17 percent were unsure.

Are corporate holiday parties coming back to state of normalcy? “We believe this year’s results reflect stability,” said Winston. “We hope this indicates increased confidence and perhaps at some point we might even ‘pop the bubbly’ again.”

The 2013 Battalia Winston nationwide survey was conducted among a cross-section of 100 companies.

About Battalia Winston:
Battalia Winston has been successfully meeting client needs in executive recruitment for 50 years and is currently ranked as one of the nation’s 20 largest retained executive search firms, as well as one of the world’s largest woman-owned search firms. Headquartered in New York City, the firm also has offices in New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago. Battalia Winston is an agile and uniquely flexible firm and their culture is focused on providing highly personalized, responsive client service.

More information: www.battaliawinston.com

Cara Silverman
Battalia Winston
212 308-8080

Terence Gallagher Speaks at the Conference Board Succession Management Conference

Terence Gallagher, President of Battalia Winston, recently spoke at the Conference Board’s 2013 Succession Management Conference on October 17, 2013 at the Westin New York in Times Square. This conference addressed leveraging high potential leadership talent through effective identification, engagement, development, retention and deployment. It also focused on integrating talent strategies to improve succession management effectiveness and developing new global talent management strategies. Terry served on a panel of speakers presenting a succession crisis business case to provide an interactive learning experience.


New York, NY, July 15, 2013 – Battalia Winston (BW), one of the nation’s leading executive search firms, today announced that it has acquired the executive search business of Norm Sanders Associates, a Fair Haven, New Jersey-based executive search firm specializing in the Financial Services and Consulting industries.  Walter J. McGuigan, Jr., Founder and Managing Director of Norm Sanders Associates, has joined Battalia Winston as a Partner covering Financial Services, Professional Services, and Technology.

With more than twenty five years of executive search experience, Walter has conducted Senior Level Partner search assignments for consulting clients in the areas of Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Technology and Operations.  Additionally, for clients in the Financial Services sector he has recruited CIO’s as well as senior level systems professionals in the areas of Sales and Trading, Derivatives, Asset Management, Foreign Exchange and Commodities. His clients have included Ernst & Young, IBM Global Services, Deloitte Consulting, and McKinsey & Co., as well as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.

“We are thrilled to have Walter as part of our team.  His strong background in financial and professional services as well as his technology functional recruiting expertise will help us to better serve our clients,” said Dale Winston, Chairwoman and CEO of Battalia Winston.

Prior to joining Battalia Winston, Walter was a Vice President with Handy Associates. He entered the executive search industry with KPMG, where he developed a financial services recruitment function. Walter’s early experience includes institutional fixed income sales with both Lehman Brothers and Lombard Wall. He is a graduate of Georgetown University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

About Battalia Winston

Battalia Winston (BW) is widely recognized as one of the top twenty retained executive search firms.  Currently in its 50th year of business, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., Denver and Chicago, BW is noted for servicing the needs of its clients from start-up organizations to members of the Fortune 10.


New York, NY, May 13, 2013 – Battalia Winston (BW) announced today that Debra Pollick, RN, MS, joined the firm as Partner within the Healthcare Practice Group.  She will be based out of Denver and New York.

A seasoned executive, having spent more than 30 years within the healthcare industry, Ms. Pollick brings extensive experience and a strong reputation for outstanding client work.

“We are pleased to have Debra as part of our team.  Her breadth of search experience coupled with her clinical background will serve to enhance our healthcare practice,” said Dale Winston, Chairwoman and CEO of Battalia Winston.

Prior to joining Battalia Winston, Debra was an Executive Vice President at a leading executive search firm.  Based in Denver, Colorado she was an integral member of the Healthcare Practice Group.  Earlier in her career, Debra was the founder of a retained healthcare search firm, Pollick & Associates, LLC.

Ms. Pollick has a depth of experience in recruiting senior leaders for hospitals, healthcare systems, academic medical centers, physician practices and managed care companies.  She has helped clients identify and attract qualified executive leadership for key positions including CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, nursing services and human resources.

Debra received her Diploma in Nursing from Riverside/Ohio Wesleyan University in Columbus, Ohio; her Bachelor of Science from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine; and her Master’s from Clayton College in Birmingham, Alabama.

About Battalia Winston

Battalia Winston (BW) is widely recognized as one of the top twelve retained executive search firm, both nationally and globally.  Currently in its 50th year of business, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, BW is noted for servicing the needs of its clients from start-up organizations to members of the Fortune 10.

Inzito Partnership Forms Transatlantic Executive Search Alliance with Battalia Winston

London, Wednesday 30 January 2013 – The Inzito Partnership, London’s leading, strategic executive search firm, is delighted to announce that it has formed a Transatlantic alliance with Battalia Winston.

Headquartered in New York, Battalia Winston is one of America’s top executive search firms, with offices in New Jersey, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The firm has more than 20 consultants and celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Dale Winston, the firm’s CEO and Chairwoman, has more than 25 years of experience in executive search and is a recipient of the Gardner W. Heidrick award for outstanding contribution to the executive search industry. Terry Gallagher, the President of Battalia Winston, is recognized by BusinessWeek as one of the world’s most influential recruiters.

The Inzito Partnership is London’s most dynamic executive search firm. Founded in 2009 by Carol Leonard, the former head of the Board practice at Whitehead Mann and a former financial journalist for The Times and London Evening Standard, the Firm has already grown into a firm of seven professional consultants whose corporate client base consists of more than 20 FTSE companies, as well as a number of significant privately owned companies, both PE backed and family businesses, and several large pension funds.

The alliance will enable both firms to offer their clients superb research, selection and recruitment services on a global scale to ensure they have the widest selection of the best possible candidates for their critical executive posts.

“We are very pleased to have signed this alliance with such a well-known and respected U.S. search firm,” said Carol Leonard. “Since first meeting on our way to a conference in Eastern Europe over 12 years ago, Dale and I have developed a strong friendship and I am excited that this relationship has now blossomed into a partnership that will be the first step in creating a broader global alliance, with representation in North and South America, continental Europe, Asia and India.”

“The Inzito Partnership is characterised by the professionalism and dynamism that we were looking for in a London based partner,” said Dale Winston, CEO and Chairwoman of Battalia Winston. “The culture, values and ambition that their founder has instilled are very similar to our own and I am personally excited to be embarking on this journey with Carol to bolster our companies’ global presence. I look forward to being in a position to serve our respective clients even more effectively.”

“Known for having greater access to the best talent, higher quality placement results, Senior Partners as engagement managers, and timely search execution, this alliance will allow Battalia Winston to further leverage our client value proposition on a global scale,” said Gallagher. “These differentiators have enabled us to achieve 82% repeat business with our clients who represent the Fortune 1000, privately held organizations, and private equity firms.”