Executive Search | Director, Strategy and Business Development| Infrastructure Management Solutions Company

Org Chart


Position: Director, Strategy and Business Development

Smart Solutions for Distributed Networks
Remote monitoring, access and control from anywhere anytime


The Company
Opengear ( is a profitable, double-digit annual growth technology provider that enables technical staff to provision, maintain and repair infrastructure from anywhere at any time, as if they were physically present, drastically reducing both operational costs and the risk of downtime.

Opengear solutions deliver true out-of-band management, always-available wired and wireless secure remote access, proactive monitoring and automated response capabilities.


Opengear designs, manufactures, and delivers remote infrastructure management solutions. It offers data center infrastructure management solutions, such as console server solutions that provide secure in-band and out-of-band access to manage data centers and colocation sites; manage serial, OG_customersUSB, and network console ports; monitor environment; control UPS systems and PDUs; and alert and auto respond. The company also provides remote site management solutions that allow users to monitor, access, and control various infrastructure, such as applications and computers at the local or remote site; networking equipment, security cameras, and power supplies; and down to door sensors, and temperature and digital I/O. In addition, it offers environmental monitoring and alerting solutions for managing changes in environmental conditions in computer rooms and remote sites; and central management solutions, including virtual and physical appliances to securely manage distributed infrastructure, and access locations without public IP. The company sells its products through its online stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and internationally; and distributors worldwide. Opengear, Inc. was founded in 2004 in Brisbane, Australia and has operations in Sandy, Utah, and sales offices in Slough, United Kingdom. Currently, R&D operations remain based primarily in Brisbane, Australia.

The Position

The Director, Strategy and Business Development will spearhead business development initiatives which identify market, technology and partnership opportunities in infrastructure management that match Opengear’s strengths, work internally with the executive, product and marketing teams to refine the company’s strategic direction, and translate this direction into growth actions that create long-term value.

Highlights of the new Director, Strategy and Business Development’s track record and experience will include the following:

Detail of Responsibilities

The Director, Strategy and Business Development will develop and implement growth strategies for Opengear, with responsibilities including:

• Working with key customers and prospects to understand their current and future needs and identify problems and new opportunities
• Connecting with analysts to understand and anticipate market and technology trends
• Monitoring competitor strategies to identify and profile key gaps
• Driving the development and management of strategic industry partnerships to accelerate the company’s market growth and leadership
• Developing Market Requirements Documents (MRDs) with a high-level definition of the problems to be solved, the value proposition for the customer, the business case and paths to market
• Acting as an internal and external evangelist for the company’s unique abilities to deliver value to the market


• 5+ years of product strategy, and partner development experience
• Solid technical background in data centers or networking (MS/BS an advantage)
• Experience working in distributed teams spanning multiple continents is mandatory
• Ability to work independently and in a team environment
• Detail oriented with excellent organization and planning skills
• Excellent written and oral communication skills
• Strong desire to make a difference and a willingness to roll up your sleeves and get things done

Detail of Desired Experience and Characteristics

  • FUNCTIONAL Prior Success In
    • Technology vision, for both company & industry
    • Evangelist for both company & industry
    • Translating business strategy into product definition
    • Product scoping & product roadmap creation authoring market requirements documents
    • white space marketing
    • Working knowledge of remote smart devices management ecosystem (DCIM etc.)
    • Developing product and marketing partnerships with relevant ISVs and OEMs to create 1+1=3 relationships
    • Competitor product and customer mapping and market intelligence
    • Education: BS in CS, EE, Math, + MBA preferred
  • INDUSTRY Experience: “Internet of Things”
    • DCIM (data center information management)
    • M2M IoT for the enterprise
    • remote console and equipment management and monitoring via cellular or satellite (KVA, out of band)
    • network infrastructure
  • STAGE of Company Experience
    • Marshalling cash resources, “doing more with less” in scaling business
    • Experience working with founders, investors, and board directors in closely held companies
    • Building & scaling brand recognition off of referenceable work
    • Emerging/growth phase of company development & rapid revenue growth, $20-50M+
    • Connected equipment & devices OEMs
      • Captive enterprise data centers (e.g. for finserv industry)
      • cloud providers (AMZ, Microsoft Azure, Google)
      • Enterprise OEM equipment vendors (HP, Cisco, etc.)
        telecom carriers
      • Industrial (e.g. Rockwell, GE etc.)


Finally, this individual should have as many as possible of the traits required to succeed in any Director, Strategy and Business Development position:

• High levels of intelligence, analytical strength and conceptual ability.
• The ability, and willingness, to set and communicate demanding standards for professional staff and to hold people accountable for their performance; at the same time, sensitivity to, and insight into individuals’ capabilities and development needs.
• Decisiveness when necessary, coupled with a willingness to seek input and build consensus as much as possible.
• Unquestioned honesty and integrity; also, loyalty to colleagues and to the organization, and the ability to inspire loyalty. This person should have the ability to identify and focus on the Company’s best interests, rather than the agenda of any individual or group within the firm.
• A very high level of energy and commitment, combined with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
• Excellent writing and speaking skills; this individual must be able to communicate complex ideas and information clearly and concisely.
• Outstanding planning and organization skills.
• Good strategic instincts and long-term vision; the ability to address both big-picture issues and detailed, day-to-day management concerns.
• In general, the business and personal skills, and the absolute commitment, required to make a major contribution to The Company during the coming years.

Ideal Candidate Profile

The following diagram illustrates the intersection of competencies critical in the Director, Strategy and Business Development position:

InCrowd CRO competencies heat map

The Market Opportunity

Opengear, across the last decade, has evolveOG_target_customerd its products and services, addressing bigger companies and larger markets in each successive year.

Opengear’s initial target was on Fortune 100,000. Not as small as SMBs but an average F100,000 company that has 377 workers, 3-6 offices and 2-3 IT administration staff. In 2007 only 10% of these companies used packaged management solutions, the other 90% mainly preferring manual processes. This is contrasted to 75% of Fortune 1000 businesses rely on network management systems. As Opengear added products including SDTConnector, embedded Nagios, and added Solarwind with integration as remote technology monitoring via MSPs. Opengear’s new Fortune 1000 customers like Regus and Avis have very different needs regarding scalability and interoperability.



Opengear customer targets all have mission critical infrastructure operating in central (data center) and remote (branch office, data closet, remote site) installation environments. Current targets include:


• Hosting, Cloud Providers & ISP
• Network Managed Service Provider
• Distributed & Multinational Enterprise (Financial, Broadcast, Government, Military & Defense, Telco & Cellco)
• Typical organizational roles for purchasing is responsible for the operation of a variety of business critical infrastructure from a variety of vendors (Network Engineer, IT Security Analyst, Systems Administrator, IT Manager, CIO)


Opengear technology consists of a series of smart appliances deployed in state of the art data centers, distributed wiring closets and harsh remote environments worldwide, alongside critical IT, communications, network and power infrastructure.

Data Center Solutions
High density in- and out-of-band infrastructure management for manned and lights-out data centers and co-location sites.

• Highly available, highly secure
• More cost effective, efficient and feature rich

Remote Location Solutions
Opengear location solutions create the ability to monitor IT, network, power & environment. Secure remote control is possible even when the network is down. Automatically detect & repair issues. With the integrated 3G or LTE, Opengear solutions extend 5 nines uptime to distributed sites.



The total Opengear team is currently approximately 60.

Financial Backing

Opengear has raised very little capital since 2004, preferring to bootstrap the company and retain the majority of enterprise value for the executive team and a select few angel investors, including David Martirano, General Partner of Point Judith Ventures in the US, and John McNulty, former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Secure Computing Corporation, a NASDAQ company acquired in November 2008 by McAfee Corporation.


Compensation is competitive with the marketplace. In a performance-based environment, this will include base salary, bonus structure based on qualitative and quantitative metrics, and equity stakeholder position.

Articles of Interest and further resources

Opengear Named “Cool Vendor” by Gartner
Key Executive Management Team & Board Directors

For complete list see,

Rick Stevenson | CEO
Rick Stevenson is a seasoned executive and technological visionary with over 30 years in senior roles at computer and communications technology companies. Most recently a VP of Product Development at McAfee, Rick was previously CEO at SnapGear, a leading developer of network security devices. He has also held senior roles at IBM, Secure Computing, Stallion Technologies and Pyramid Technology and been involved in several successful startup companies. Rick has a deep technical knowledge in areas including network security and embedded systems and has been a stalwart supporter of the FOSS community. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Computer Science from the University of Queensland and Rick is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering there.

Gary Marks | President
Gary Marks has full ownership of Opengear’s global sales and marketing, as well as executive leadership responsibility for all US operations. Gary, an accomplished senior executive, served most recently as the SVP Global Sales and Marketing for Raritan, a power and infrastructure management provider for data centers. Channel publication CRN awarded Gary as a “CRN Channel Chief” for five years in a row for his initiatives at Raritan. Prior to this, he held senior executive leadership positions that focused on enterprise sales, marketing and channel growth with Dialogic (an Intel company), Conner Peripherals, AT&T, and Western Digital. Gary holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami and a MBA in Finance from Farleigh Dickinson University.

Todd Rychecky | VP Sales America
Todd Rychecky has over 17 years of sales and sales management experience. He is responsible for managing the sales strategies in the Americas. He excels at working with system integrators, global key accounts, OEM partnerships and implementing product marketing strategies. Todd worked for Whitmire Distribution/Cardinal Health (1991-1996) and sold the industries first pharmacy management system. Todd also worked for Datex-Engstrom (1996-1999) selling patient monitoring solutions. At Perle Systems (1999-2008) he was a Senior Sales Manager and the top sales producer for the company for the past decade. Todd holds a BS from Nebraska Wesleyan University.

Derek Watkins | VP Sales (EMEA & India)
Derek Watkins manages Opengear¹s partnerships and marketing strategies in EMEA and has over 25 years of sales and sales management experience. Before Opengear, Derek was Sales Director EMEA for Server Technology where he developed and implemented the company’s sales and marketing strategy and led sales of power distribution and monitoring solutions for the critical facilities market. Prior, he held senior roles within several specialist data center organizations, including AFCO Systems, where he forged his extensive experience in the sector. Derek excels at working with global key accounts and, specifically, building relationships in the financial and data center markets.

Brendan Walsh | Director of Sales Asia Pacific
Brendan Walsh has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience and is responsible for sales leadership in the Australian Region. Brendan is a results focused sales leader with extensive success in the IT industry. Prior to joining Opengear, Brendan held senior roles with Qbt and Avocent forging new partnerships with key partners and developing direct relationships with corporate customers. Brendan excels at working with key accounts and building relationships in the data center markets. Brendan holds an Advanced Diploma of Computer Science from RMIT in Melbourne.

Peter Suriani | Senior Director of Marketing
Peter is responsible for providing leadership of Opengear’s Marketing organization. Peter joined Opengear from Raritan where he spearheaded development and implementation of the marketing strategy to promote brand, portfolio and thought leadership for the company. Prior to this, he held leadership positions in Product Management, Marketing, Strategic Planning and Development at Lucent Technologies, BEA and AT&T. Peter holds an MBA in Marketing and Management from Fordham University where he also obtained his BA. Peter has also completed Executive Education programs at NYU and Boston University.

Robert Waldie | Distinguished Engineer
Robert Waldie works with the engineering, product management and sales teams, helping guide product development to meet the requirements of strategic accounts and markets. Previously, Robert led Opengear’s software development team before relocating to the UK to establish Opengear’s EMEA operation. Prior to joining Opengear, Robert worked with SnapGear developing embedded Linux security and network applications, then as a consultant specializing in open source solutions. Robert holds a BSc in Computer Science and a BA in Linguistics from the University of Queensland.

David Martirano | Board Director
David Martirano leads Point Judith Capital’s information technology investing, with a focus on enterprise software and networking. He is currently involved with the firm’s investments in Antenna Software, Envista Software,, GetwellNetwork, MedOptions, NABsys, Spotlight Ticket Management, ParElastic, and Apptegic, and was previously involved with Taqua (acquired by Tekelec NASDAQ: TKLC), Optasite (acquired by SBA Communications NASDAQ: SBAC), and Fidelis Security Systems (acquired by General Dynamics NYSE: GD). Prior to Point Judith, David co-founded Rex Capital with Dave Mixer. While at Rex Capital, David led Rex’s investments in Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX), the number one search engine in Russia, Co-nect, which was sold to Pearson (NYSE: PSO) and SnapGear which was sold to CyberGuard (NASDAQ: CGFW). He holds a BS from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from the Columbia Business School. David is currently on the board of Year UP Rhode Island.

John McNulty | Board Director
John McNulty brings more than 40 years of technology executive management experience to Opengear. Currently John is President and CEO of InterAct, a leading provider of public safety incident response and management software. Previously, from mid-1999 to 2008, John served as Chairman, President and CEO of Secure Computing Corporation, a NASDAQ company acquired in November 2008 by McAfee Corporation. Before joining Secure Computing, he served for two years as Senior Vice President of Marketing, Services and Business Development at Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Inc., a leading independent software company in computer telephony integration acquired by Alcatel. John also served two distinguished four-year careers at Intel Corporation, where he was General Manager of Memory and Micro Systems as well as establishing Intel’s Enterprise Server Group. He also held executive positions at Rose Communications, Integrated Solutions, and Computer Consoles, Inc., and began his career at Honeywell Information Systems.

Bob Waldie | Board Director
Bob has a track record of successful entrepreneurship. Prior to co-founding Opengear, he chaired SnapGear, a developer of embedded Linux security appliances, which in 2003 was acquired by CyberGuard. Before this Bob was CEO of Moreton Bay Ventures which developed Internet messaging products and was acquired by Lineo in 2001. Bob has served on the board of private and public technology companies, as well as government and industry bodies, and currently participates in a number of technology start-ups as an early stage investor.

For more information, please contact:

Clark Waterfall, BSG Team Ventures, at
Sharon Alexander, BSG Team Ventures, at
Diane Amador, BSG Team Ventures, at

Resume and cover letter should be posted to the BSG website. No phone calls please.

Summer Marketing & Research Intern








Summer Marketing & Research Intern

  • WHAT WE DO: We build executive teams. Common slang? Headhunter. Lofty term? Executive search consultants.
  • WHAT WE NEED: A creative, self-directed, curious, marketing and market research focused intern. Our goal for this role?  To map how we can best market into what we call the “gray space” with prospective clients.
  • WHERE WE ARE: We’re located in Back Bay, at the corner of Newbury and Clarendon. If you’re T-accessible, so are we (Green line Arlington or Copley stop, Orange, Back Bay stop).
  • WHO YOU ARE: Here is what you’re probably interested in, like thinking about, and are wired as—
    • You like to figure out how things work.  Or why things are the way they are.  Think investigative reporter.
    • OK, if you’re the right type of person, you’ve looked this up and dropped  it into casual conversation within the next 48 hours
    • Self-directed. This is a role that will be given direction, but broad latitude to accomplish on one’s own.
    • Thirst for learning.
    • A budding pundit. Not only do you like words, but you like to write.  Not long tomes or deep research abstracts, but pithy, meaningful, insights-driven stuff.  Think short stories.  Something between haiku and novella.  You’ve written at least one tweet in iambic pentameter just for fun.  You’ve blogged on life observations or your synthesis of current events.
    • You love the intersection of marketing, and market research. Finding a theme or insight, and then crystalizing, prepping, and disseminating it across the appropriate spectrum of social media tools
    • This is a paid internship
    • This could be as few as 2 days a week, as many as 4 or 5
    • The internship will run June-August, with the opportunity to continue in a part time role, if desired by both parties, throughout the school year
    • You do not need to do all work in our office. However, you will need to spend at least half your time in the office, therefore you should be accessible to Back Bay to spend between 1 and 2 days a week there
    • This role is conceptualized as a summer sojourn for college or graduate school students, not a full time role. Therefore, if full time work is what you seek, please respect the spirit of the need and pass up the urge to apply.

In your response, please include:

Social media coordinates for your work (blog URL, twitter handle), and any market research samples you wish us to review.

Please direct all responses to our online portal at Click on the link labeled “BSG Marketing Summer Intern”, and attach your resume, cover note, and contact information there.

BSG Team Ventures Recruits for CCO for TriLumina


We’re pleased to announce that BSG has completed the search and secured Luke Smithwick for the Chief Commercial Officer position. More on Mr. Smithwick’s background below.

TriLumina is a venture-backed pioneer in solid state modules used in LiDAR and ADAS systems for the automotive industry and its push toward autonomous vehicle safety. For more on TriLumina, see

Luke Smithwick has over 25 years of experience in business and technical leadership spanning semiconductors, software, hardware and core R&D with the past 10 years focused on the automotive industry. He joins us from Silicon Valley start-up CloudCar where he was VP of Marketing, Partnerships and Business Development. Prior to that, he was director of Automotive Infotainment Products at Qualcomm driving automotive product management and focusing engineering on achieving automotive qualification of high-complexity application processors. Luke started his automotive career at Freescale as Director of Software and Solution Technologies where he started an automotive professional services P&L and automotive software solutions team and later as Global Operations and Business Manager driving the P&L, product line management, solutions, strategy and vision for Freescale’s Automotive Driver Information and Infotainment semiconductor business. Earlier in his career, Luke was focused on complex IP licensing at Aware as VP of Licensing, held a number of senior marketing and sales positions at GlobeSpan Semiconductor and was an advanced technology researcher at Bell Laboratories. Luke did post graduate work at Princeton University and Columbia University and holds a BSEE and MS in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. He holds 14 technology patents and has published multiple industry and technical papers.

INTERNAL SEARCH | BSG Team Ventures | Office Manager


Executive search opportunity


Office Manager

Small professional services firm located in Back Bay is seeking a creative and dependable individual to help manage our office. We are looking for a smart generalist rather than a skilled administrator, with some tech savvy and can-do attitude who can excel at performing the following tasks:

  • General office management and maintenance
  • Client greeting both in person and by telephone
  • Plan and organize events for the firm, both on and offsite
  • New hire onboarding
  • Work with Finance on invoicing, deposits and reconciling monthly corporate expenses
  • Manage and maintain relationships with vendors including hosted email and VOIP phone system
  • Experience with search engines and other online research methodologies.
  • Project management (client project assistance/management)
  • Website/blog management
  • A high degree of comfort with technology, including but not limited to proficiency in the Microsoft office suite, experience in widely used web applications, remote access software, CRM systems and basic troubleshooting abilities
  • Light computer “help desk” assistance for other local and remote employees (~20) with proprietary industry-specific database software

Other requirements:
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Ability to prioritize multiple projects/requests and deadlines
Organized and detail-oriented
Aptitude for creative problem solving and critical thinking

BA or BS Degree


Ability to adjust working hours when needed would be highly valuable

There is not a lot of “water cooler” culture in our firm.  Often, this person is there with only 1 other person in the office.  Therefore, if someone is looking for office relationships as a deep part of their social fabric, this role will likely not deliver on that vector.

This is a PT position.  Perfect for a college or grad student or someone seeking mother’s hours.  Some hours can be remote but the position will require 2-3 days a week in our Back Bay office.

Please submit resume and cover letter including your minimum compensation requirements (in either an hourly wage or annual salary) at:


Hiring dilemma—Local, relo or “commuting” executive… Which is best for you?

flight map BOS to SFOThis is a question with which clients often struggle.  There is almost always a trade-offs analysis required when hiring executive talent into growing businesses. 



In the olden days, only 2 options existed—(1) Hire a local candidate who already lived “in situ” or, (2) relocate a candidate, lock-stock-and-barrel.  Now in the 21st century, there is yet a 3rd “commuting executive option” that’s crept into the calculus.

Why?  Executives can be in touch with their customers, teams and board directors wherever and whenever needed, with zero “downtime.”  This has been powered by ubiquity of technology–wifi in air and voice-activated mobile access on the roads.  In addition, long-distance transportation has changed a great deal.  The advent of “air taxis,” and all-you-can-eat flat monthly commuter services mean you can have an executive that lives in Boston and commutes to NY, or in LA and commutes to San Francisco via Surf Air, Beacon or Rise  (

Traffic on a street at night, long exposure.

In the olden days…

It used to be that executives were usually of an age that they were married and had children, house, cars, and a more complicated (and expensive) lifestyle.   Relocating an executive with all this in tow came at a pretty penny.  Depending upon the distance an executive needs to relocate, $25,000 was probably the bare minimum, and 50K or 75K was more the norm with circumstances sometimes pushing relo costs to more than $100,000 for an executive who earned 150-300K as a salary.  Large corporations were used to these price tags, and built it into “cost of ownership” calculations when executives used to stay for 10 or 20 years and often worked at a single company until it was time for the gold watch.  However, smaller companies looking to top-grade their executive ranks to fortify for additional growth and expansion are often shocked at these costs.  How could it cost that much?  How much can a U-Haul cost, anyway they often ask?  The reality is that in our modern age of larger houses with bigger square-footage, relocating a typical 3,000 square foot home’s contents, plus car(s), and the optional cost of professional packers to safely bundle all these goods into a large moving van will often run $10,000 or more, and that’s before the mileage costs then charged to haul those goods however far the relocating executive has to go.  [Example: 300+ mile move from San Francisco to Los Angeles for 3 bedrooms home with no cars included and partial packing assistance is $5,000]

Other relo costs to consider include:

  • House hunting trips with spouse and/or family (2K to 5K per trip, often 2 or 3 trips to find the right house)
  • Interim housing for the executive while children finish up a school year, $1,000 to $3,000 a month depending upon cost of living in a given metro or regional area (Major metro areas at higher end, shoulder cities and secondary markets on the lower end)
  • Buying/selling costs of a residence. This likely has the largest range from zero to huge. What is often negotiated in relo packages  on a bespoke basis includes cost of real estate commission on the  house being sold, other seller closing costs incurred, mortgage points on the new mortgage for new house, etc.  On a 500K house, a 5% commission paid by seller is 25K.  5 points on a 500K new purchase (1% of mortgage amount to buy down the interest rate) can be another 10K.  And closing costs on the new house will likely run another 1% of amount being borrowed (4-5K in our example).
  • Increase/decrease in cost of living. Often, when relocating a candidate from one place to another, “cost of living” becomes a critical consideration for the candidate.  If they were earning 250K in a shoulder city (no major metro area in the US) and are moving into region with higher cost of living, grossing up their compensation to allow for same buying power is often essential to make the relocation math work.  See  to run these to/from calculations.


If all of these relocation costs seem too expensive, and you can’t find the talent you need local to the business being built, what to do? Revisit  paragraph 1 and seriously consider Option #3, what is fast becoming the “new normal” in today’s virtual, Slack-powered, Skype video viewed, Google hang-out fueled economy where the beat never stops, no matter WHERE you are or what time zone you’re in.

Top 15 CEO Lessons Learned from Private Equity-backed Exits in 2015

Time to sell clock image

Each spring, we at BSG assemble an august panel of private equity-backed CEOs who have exited their businesses in the last 12 months.  The goal? To “share it forward” with other current and future CEOs as they buy, build, and exit their own companies.

Below is this year’s 2015 vintage of wisdom.  This year we had the privilege of having 3 CEOs on the panel, including Peter Segall, recently CEO of HealthcareSource (, and Gordon Raskin, former CEO of Archive Systems (   Amy Margolis of Riverside Company ( also joined the panel to offer the macro view from the PE perspective, framing 2015 and the prevailing head- and tailwinds private-equity-backed CEOs faced in exiting their companies in this time window.

PE CEO Exits Panel 2016

A note about BSG: We generate and curate collective wisdom like the below as we believe our role as executive search consultants isn’t just finding the next star executive talent to round out a team or board, but to serve as information connector and conduit between all executives who power top quartile performance.

For our 2014 vintage, see

The Top 15 of 2015:

  1. The minute you take institutional money, you are for sale

    Think and act like a grocery store – “best if sold by…” Have a clear alignment with investors about timing and expectations.

  2. Develop a “sounding board”

    This board is comprised of a diverse network of confidantes – other CEO’s with exit experience, bankers, investors, etc.. You need to nurture an objective and up-to-date viewpoint on market conditions, industry specific buyer hot buttons and trends in M&A.

  3. Get to know potential buyers

    Date before you try to get married. Carve out a little time in the years before the process to informally get to know the potential buyers, so they are not meeting you for the first time during the process.  You will need a rapport with the buying CEO in order to get the deal done.

  4. Don’t let the business tank during the process  

    Good news keeps the momentum going; bad news opens the door to re-trading.

  5. Put your house in order ASAP 

    Audits, legal, tax, tech, etc.

    • Get an awesome CFO as early as possible
    • Always be preparing for the exit – start a data room and keep it up to date
    • The CEO becomes irrelevant at some point during the sale, so you have to be able to trust and rely on your CFO. If you can’t, see (a) above
  6. Make sure your key financial, customer and business metrics are tight

    Clearly defined, supportable by the detail – if anything is squishy, fix it.  Confront reality and make sure your board/investors are all on the same page

    • You are what your record says you are – Bill Parcels
    • Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be – Jack Welch
  7. Hire a banker…  

    …who knows your industry and has good chemistry with you.

  8. Never look like you have to sell 

    Be willing to walk away from any deal that isn’t good.

  9. Be the lead advocate for sweating down the transaction timeline 

    Time usually doesn’t help processes, valuations, or, most importantly, ongoing mission focus.

  10. Question “rules-of-thumb”

    Investment bankers and potential investors will arrive with plenty of them: Valuation comps, average revenue multiples, EBITDA multiples, management ownership shares, return thresholds for performance shares, rollover percentages, vesting time frames, etc.. All of these are ripe for investigation and scrutiny. Understand the full spectrum of possibilities, your unique story and place in the world, and where you can push and where you can’t.

  11. The transaction is a point in time event

    You have fiduciary responsibilities to ownership/investors (and likely are included in one or both), but you also represent management and the ongoing entity. Being true and highly focused on your mission (business) rather than a transaction will paradoxically serve you well in maximizing value in a transaction.

  12. Investors aren’t paying for what you’ve done, they’re paying for what you’ll do

    Constantly work on your story telling and make sure your story is cohesive and compelling and reflects the “connectedness” between the things you’ve built (team, infrastructure, organization, products, client relationships, etc..) and the future opportunity. This should appear seamless. A never-ending story.

  13. Think about keeping everyone in the loop instead of in the dark as you approach a transition 

    If you remain focused on “thinking forward” about what the future growth of the business will be, often a transaction isn’t cause for concern. It’s business as usual and everyone knows that mission focus is key, not a potential transaction. Employees are pretty smart anyway. They’ll find out on their own and create their own narrative if you don’t. Keep the deal team as small as possible to tell your story in a compelling way, and keep everyone else “informed, but mission focused.”

  14. Employees deserve answers to 4 questions the minute they hear about the deal

    • What is my job?
    • Who do I work for?
    • What am I paid?
    • What do I need to do to succeed?
  15. Manage your stress

    Take care of yourself during the process. Take up yoga (for insights), boxing (for “negotiation skills” and outlet for frustration) and triathlons (for endurance). You’ll likely need all 3 sports to make it over the exit finish line.

Top Takeaways – Buyouts East 2016, April 4-6, 2016, BOSTON

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

Here are some of the themes that resonated….

  • High Purchase Price Multiples Suggest Concerns
    Historically high acquisition prices being paid for companies are putting pressure on multiple expansion. Despite some softening in the energy sector, there was little consensus that high EBITA multiple prices are likely to decrease over the short term. Models were presented that showed how conditions were eerily similar to 2007 the last market peak. Some firms were looking at deals outside the US for value buys and also considering “counter-cyclical” companies.
  • Pressure on Value Creation is Unprecedented
    Given high exit prices, PE firms are taking a laser-like focus to value creation within their portfolios. One strategy is to grow their portfolio companies through add-on acquisitions that lead to greater synergies and revenue growth. Another option suggested considering smaller companies below $100 million in revenue where there was more opportunity to grow EBITA than in larger entities.
  • Talent Matters…
    Diligence is extremely critical in vetting talent- best practices included detailed and comprehensive background checks in addition to multiple meetings with the management team before close. Red flags include a pattern of lawsuits and any “material non-disclosure”. Other best practices included in-depth reviewing all Tier One managers as well as their subordinates. Some PE firms court management teams over a long time horizon enabling them to build trust and credibility. The position must likely to be replaced upon acquisition? The CFO. PE Firms that contributed to panels looked to collaborative cultures as a predictor for success. Most reported that highly entrepreneurial owners could be the most challenging to manage.
  • Operating Excellence is Key to Success
    PE firms presenting at the conference had robust 100 Day Plans. Some  some had done considerable spadework before a close, demonstrating to management teams how they could scale their businesses through marketing and distribution strategies that had been successful with previous portfolio companies.
  • Complexity continues
    Institutions ranging from political structures to corporations are struggling to address globalization, technological innovation and the increasingly interconnected world we do business in. There are no easy answers but it is important to recognize these trends as informing the overall context that we live and work in.

[CLOSED] EXECUTIVE SEARCH | VP Learning Products | Human Capital Institute

istock image, org chart drawing woman (from Clark-waterfalls-macbook-air)


Vice President, Learning Products

Reports To: CEO
Location: Cincinnati OR New York City


Human Capital Institute To Host Third Annual Global Workforce Planning Week
HCI Announces Inaugural Performance Management Innovation Conference
Human Capital Institute Release New Findings on Employee Engagement


Reporting directly to the CEO, and as a member of the senior management team, the VP of Learning Products will lead HCI in all facets of a well-developed and innovative education program.   The VP will find cutting edge talent management strategies and distribute the content through educational programs.   This VP will push the boundaries of learning modalities while leading HCI into a wider reaching international market.  The VP will be responsible for running and scaling all aspects of educational product offerings, directly contributing to company growth.

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

When Is It Time to Start the CFO Search

Todd Blog Post 4-1-16This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

No matter the size or stage of your company, don’t underestimate the significance of recruiting the right person as your Chief Financial Officer. In this article, the fourth of six devoted to C-Suite search, I outline what to keep in mind when the company you run or are invested in, thinks it’s time for a first, or, replacement CFO.

As in any search, evaluate the company’s needs and stage. Are you a startup, high-growth, or in transition? Knowing the answer to this question will help you look for the right CFO candidates, as they too have diverse expertise.  Important to note, in the past two years, the demand for talented CFO’s has become extremely competitive. This situation lends, even more, weight to your need to know what type of skills your CFO needs to be able to deliver – and to be patient in finding that right person.

Early-Stage & High-Growth

Fifteen years ago a typical company could wait until revenue reached a substantial amount (~ $50M) before hiring their CFO, but the rules have changed. Now, the sooner, the better. Some early milestones that can trigger the need for a CFO are before the company raises significant investment; before the company starts making acquisitions; or when revenues begin to increase significantly.

A company with high growth will want a CFO that is experienced with a chaotic, expanding environment, and who isn’t learning as they go. High growth organizations need a CFO, who will be the steady, wise voice when everyone else is overworked and frantic.

While you’ll find this in all stage companies, investors, specifically private equity partners, will insist on the CFO implementing KPI’s. PE investors will also insist that the CFO have strong strategic planning, modeling, and forecasting skills.

But, You Need to Think Ahead

You might run or be invested in a company in a mature industry with little to no growth, in which case you need to find a CFO to “keep the trains running on time.” However, most organizations will experience change whether they drive it, or their industry does. So, the CFO search becomes even more challenging because as the company’s needs change over time so will the demands placed on the CFO. That person will need to come with a great skillset and easily adapt, or be easily replaced.

A CFO’s responsibilities can be divided into two sides. The “inside” part of the job involves accounting, team management, and balancing the books. The “outside” part involves some of the responsibilities mentioned:  raising investment, doing acquisitions and partnerships. If the need is for an “outside” CFO then it will be important he/she has a strong Controller to handle the “inside” responsibilities. Most “outside” CFO’s don’t much like the basic accounting part of the job.

When evaluating, CFO candidates don’t put too much weight into titles. Surprisingly, some people with a current CFO title are just very senior Controllers, without strategic planning, modeling and forecasting skills. They are good at describing where the company has been, where it currently is, but can’t look up ahead around corners.

If your company is growing through acquisitions, then a CFO with “deal making” experience is required. These agreements, either acquisitions or partnerships, can be very complex. A CFO with experience and knowledge around how deals work (or fail) can mean the difference in millions of dollars.

Also, these days there aren’t many IPO’s (January 2016 was the first month in 3-1/2 years without a single IPO), however if the company has aspirations of going public then a CFO will often drive that “road show”.

Finally, the chemistry between the CFO and CEO is critical. The CEO needs a trusted confidant to engage in private constructive debate. The CFO must be direct, honest, and comfortable with being #2, like Mr. Spock to Captain Kirk.

Executive Search | SVP of Corporate Development| Secure Identity Platform Company

istock image, org chart drawing woman (from Clark-waterfalls-macbook-air) SVP of Corporate Development

The Company

Headquartered in midtown Manhattan, our client has a robust and proven technology-based secure identity platform which has applicability to multiple large markets.  The platform ultimately involves interactions with consumers (“members”) but reaches them indirectly, so the company’s go-to-market strategy involves establishing relationships with the major participants in each vertical (“customers”).  The company has a strong presence in its core business and is quickly expanding into other verticals.

This is a high-growth technology enterprise with over 300 employees.  Revenues are budgeted in 2016 to be near $40M+.

The Position

The SVP of Corporate Development will report to the CEO and be a significant member of the senior leadership team.  His/her charter is to leverage the company’s platform to drive growth in membership, revenues, and profits.

Key responsibilities will include:

  • Creating a comprehensive business development strategy that covers two complementary elements: customers and partnerships.
    • Customers: Broadening and deepening relationships in current verticals, while quickly assessing, prioritizing, and establishing an approach for pursuing new verticals.
    • Partnerships: Identifying and pursuing mutually beneficial relationships with other consumer-facing organizations.
    • Aggressively pursuing opportunities and closing meaningful deals in new verticals.
  • Taking a hands-on and active leadership role in negotiating and closing deals with customers and partners.
  • Thinking creatively about ways to increase the company’s value to customers and partners; this will include leveraging the company’s API to further embed the platform into existing infrastructures, and developing and marketing the company’s data analytics capabilities to help customers and partners optimize their businesses and create better end-user experiences.
  • Working closely with the rest of the management team, and with customers and partners, to ensure that there is effective communication of critical information and that the company is able to deliver products and services which exceed expectations.
  • Creating and refining internal processes and metrics so the Corporate Development organization can be scaled.
  • Managing the existing team and expanding and/or upgrading as required.
  • Conducting customer research and continuing to refine the company’s value proposition.
  • Conducting competitive intelligence, and monitoring and responding to competitor moves and business trends.
  • Monitoring, forecasting, and reporting on the business pipeline and on revenue, profit, and other key metrics.

Desired experience and attributes:

  • Substantial experience, and a track record of success, in corporate development roles and in closing deals and generating revenue.
  • Experience in consumer-facing technology businesses. Amazon, eBay, Expedia/Orbitz/Travelocity, Facebook, Google, Groupon, Priceline/Kayak, TripAdvisor, Twitter, and Yahoo are just a few of many, many possible examples.
  • Experience in leveraging a platform by expanding across different vertical markets.
  • An aggressive and tenacious approach to pursuing new markets, creating a sales pipeline, overcoming customer concerns, and so on; this must be a hungry and highly motivated individual who embraces the role of rainmaker.
  • A collaborative and cooperative work style; outstanding interpersonal and communication capabilities.
  • Experience with successful companies and effective leaders; a knowledge base of what it takes to build a great business and to avoid typical pitfalls.
  • A rare combination of high-level vision and pragmatism. The SVP must be able to “think big” about opportunities while bringing analytical rigor to the evaluation of those opportunities and having a commitment to data-driven decision making.
  • Unquestioned ethics and integrity.
  • Genuine comfort and effectiveness as both a manager and a doer; an intense focus on getting things done, and a willingness to be as “hands on” as required.
  • The ability to think like an owner; the ideal candidate will embrace accountability and will be efficient with both time and capital.
  • Modesty and self-awareness; openness to feedback and coaching.
  • Willingness to travel as required (perhaps up to 50% of the time).

Resume and cover letter can also be posted to the BSG website. No phone calls please.

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