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CEO/Executive Director Searches

A large part of our executive search practice is focused on searches for CEO’s (Chief Executive Officers/Executive Directors).

We often work with organizations recruiting CEO’s who are undergoing a significant change, such as the retirement of a nonprofit’s founder or long time leader as well as other searches stemming from retirements or unplanned departures. In each of our engagements we take a holistic approach to our work, bringing an understanding of the whole organization, its culture and values, to each project. We offer our clients a depth of expertise in nonprofit governance and management, combined with over 30 years of recruiting experience. Please see a current listing of our searches in this practice area at the bottom of this page. 

Leadership Transitions

Our expertise is particularly helpful during times of organizational change and executive transition. We understand that the transition between executive leaders is both a critical event and major opportunity in the life of an organization. We have deep experience helping boards reach consensus on the priority criteria they seek in their new leader. We work with our clients to get very clear on what will constitute great performance for their new executive, and craft a candidate profile and criteria designed to ensure the capability of presented candidates to deliver on these performance goals.

Executive Transition Model

We conduct all of CEO searches with an executive transition model that breaks down our work into four phases. We believe that all are critical to ensuring that you not only recruit the right candidate to serve as CEO, but that you retain this new leader for an appropriate span of years.

We call the first phase of our executive search process “discovery”. This part of our process is extremely relevant to CEO searches. A senior leadership change is a critical pivot point in the life of your organization. We begin our work with you by taking a deep dive into your mission, programs, business model, resource development strategies and your long-range plans. Through one-on-one confidential meetings with stakeholders, online surveys, staff meetings, interviews with key external partners and data review, we take the time necessary to get to know your organization, its strengths, its future opportunities and challenges, and the mandate for new leadership necessary to carry the organization’s work forward.

We strongly believe that a culture and values fit trumps experience. You can have a candidate with all the requisite skills and experience you believe the job requires, and they still would not make a good match if there would not be a fit with your values and culture. This factor is more important in the nonprofit sector than a private enterprise. We pay particular attention to the dynamics and strengths of your board and senior team, because a new leader’s skills should complement and strengthen the capabilities already present in your organization.

More on Long Time Leader Transitions

For more information about our expertise and experience in searches in this area please be sure to read our Founder and Long-Time Leader Transition brochure.

What Sets Us Apart

We have a holistic model that provides the board of directors with consulting from the initial discovery stage through the entire first year of the new Chief Executive Officer’s tenure. We help the board and the executive develop a detailed onboarding plan, facilitate the creation of a robust annual performance plan for the executive, and help the board and the executive develop a shared understanding of longer term organizational priorities.

We have a team approach to search: While every search is assigned a Principal as lead consultant as well as a research lead, all of our team members review all searches twice a week every week to ensure that our clients receive the full benefit of our collective experience.

We are known for the high quality of the candidates we present and the comprehensive consultative approach to the professional services we provide.

We combine deep expertise in nonprofit management, governance and fund development with the techniques and capabilities found in large search firms. Our Principals have all held leadership roles with nonprofit organizations and have extensive search experience in the corporate sector as well.

After the placement, we guarantee our searches for a full year: Should the placed candidate leave for any reason, we will redo the search at no additional fee.

For More Information

We look forward to talking with you about your executive search and transition needs. Please feel free to contact our Managing Director Scott Staub at or by calling our offices at 510-542-2922.

Completed Searches