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Chief People Officer Insights & Trends

In September 2023, FlemingMartin organized lunch discussions with more than 100 Chief People Officers (CPOs) from leading Software, Fintech, and Life Science companies.

Topics include the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding UNC’s and Harvard’s admissions programs, the continued battle for in-office, hybrid, and remote work, adopting AI in the workplace, people analytics trends, and executive team leadership behaviors. Please see a sample from the discussions below:

“We sent a communication from our executive team which said we are not altering our DEIB focus. We referenced the Supreme Court ruling, and even in light of it we are staying the course and are very aligned.”

“Our culture is in the office. We feel like collaboration and community are a big part of what drives our innovation and makes us successful.”

“This shift in [AI] technology came before we were ready for it, but it’s here. Rather than looking at it as which jobs will go away, I believe we should look at it as a journey that is created with leadership and employees.”

“The biggest [people analytics trend I’ve seen] is what people label as burnout. I could be burned out because I’m in the wrong role or because I have a bad manager or I’m having difficulty at home. We need to dig in.”

Click here to review the full summary.


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FM Broadcast – Fall 2023

Is Executive Search Right for You?

In today’s business landscape, marked by uncertainty surrounding workforce planning, layoffs, and macroeconomic fluctuations, our clients have adopted a more cautious approach to hiring. Many have scaled back on aggressive recruitment efforts and are scrutinizing budgets and resource allocation more than ever. However, the need for exceptional leadership remains constant. Recent market turbulence has not diminished the critical importance of top-tier executive talent that can drive strategic growth and help companies achieve their objectives.

The executive search process is resource intensive and demands a rigorous, strategic approach. Top executives are usually passive candidates that do not browse job boards and rarely respond to recruiter outreach. However, a trusted executive search partner enables companies to access the best pool of executive talent. Proven executive search firms will have trusted relationships and can help their clients create a tailored process that generates more efficient and effective results than a LinkedIn job post or blanket outreach.

Retained vs. Contingent Executive Search

There are two kinds of executive search, retained and contingent. Contingent firms offer certain benefits like a small upfront financial outlay and the potential to “spread your bets” by having multiple firms working concurrently on a single role. However, contingent firms are volume-driven, which means they are working with numerous companies in parallel and often cast a wide net with indiscretion, rarely considering a candidate’s fit. Moreover, contingent recruiters often present the same candidate to many companies simultaneously, which can lead to mixed results and a questionable client experience.

In contrast, retained executive search firms use a partnership approach, serving as brand ambassadors for their clients and prioritizing fit over volume. A retained partner presents only highly qualified candidates and actively manages the candidate experience. This tailored, high-touch approach can be the difference maker in attracting and securing premium talent effectively. Furthermore, retained search firms are well positioned to complete complex confidential searches using discretion and precise messaging. For more insights on running a successful confidential search, you can revisit our previous newsletter here.

Retained firms also bring a particular depth of industry expertise, enabling them to identify and engage highly qualified passive candidates across their specialized networks. They understand the nuances of various roles and sectors, from the subtleties of enterprise vs. SMB SaaS experience to the distinctions between technical backgrounds required by a small molecule vs. biologics company in the life sciences.

Boutique vs. SHREK Search Firms

The differences between boutique and large retained firms are also significant. Large, global search firms (“SHREKs”) boast extensive candidate databases and brand cachet, but they are not suitable for every executive hiring situation. SHREKs have more off-limits companies due to their reach and will typically focus on C-suite and Board roles. This means certain executive searches are sometimes lower priority and are not given the same level of attention.

Meanwhile, boutique retained firms offer similar industry expertise and access to top-tier talent but have fewer off-limits companies. Firms like FlemingMartin understand that less is more. We limit the number of client engagements our Practice Leaders undertake at once to focus on a white-glove experience for candidates and clients. This allows for personalized attention to detail and for our consultants to form long-term partnerships rather than rely on a database for short-term solutions to critical client needs. Recruiting premier talent requires grit and perseverance, so having an experienced, accountable, and engaged Practice Leader who possesses a “roll-up-the-sleeves” mentality is critical for success on the most challenging of searches.

Even in today’s uncertain economic environment, the need for top-quality executive talent remains a key priority in competitive, fast-moving industries. Retaining an executive search firm like FlemingMartin, as a trusted advisor and hardworking partner, can help build strong leadership teams that will support your organization’s long-term success.

FlemingMartin has a track record of being a trusted partner that successfully completes our client’s toughest searches. Our team brings the domain expertise, a highly refined process, and deep networks that accelerate the timeliness needed in search execution.

Client Snapshots

Gen Digital

Search Completed: General Manager, Identity and Privacy at Gen Digital (NASDAQ: GEN)

Gen™ is a global Fortune 500 company dedicated to powering Digital Freedom through its trusted Cyber Safety brands, Norton, Avast, LifeLock, Avira, AVG, ReputationDefender, and CCleaner. Gen brings award-winning products and services in cybersecurity, online privacy, and identity protection to nearly 500 million users in more than 150 countries.

Gen selected FlemingMartin because of our firm’s functional expertise and track record of completing complex confidential searches.

FlemingMartin completed this search in 41 days.


Search Completed: Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications at 89bio (NASDAQ: ETNB)

Launched in 2018, 89bio is a clinical-stage biotechnology company primarily focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies addressing non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). NASH can progress to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer, and the prevalence of NASH is growing due to the worldwide obesity epidemic. Enter 89bio’s lead product candidate, Pegozafermin, which has demonstrated differentiation within class and category, and holds strong potential to be truly transformational for patients.

89bio’s Chief Financial Officer selected FlemingMartin for the Company’s VP of IR and Corp Comms search based on knowledge of our consultants’ deep industry connections and our reputation for performing outstanding recruiting work.

You can view the hiring announcement



Search Completed: Chief Financial Officer at Genelux (NASDAQ: GNLX)

Founded in 2001, Genelux is a pre-eminent immuno-oncology company that addresses serious unmet medical needs. By developing immunotherapies that deliver the full complement of tumor neo-antigens, Genelux is fighting cancer through the stimulation of personalized immune system responses.

Genelux’s Chief Executive Officer selected FlemingMartin for the CFO search based on a referral from a current Genelux board member who had worked with FlemingMartin in the past with great results.

You can view the hiring announcement



Firm News

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FlemingMartin’s extended family is growing!

Congratulations to Chelsea Williams on the arrival of her daughter, Delaney Jolie. Chelsea.delaney.newsletter

Chelsea joined FlemingMartin in April 2018 as our Executive Search Analyst and since then she has climbed her way to our Sr. Associate team. It’s been a pleasure to witness Chelsea’s growth both personally and professionally at our firm. We’re excited to have her back in action at FlemingMartin after a well-deserved family leave! Since joining FlemingMartin, Chelsea has completed more than 50 searches for diverse companies such as:

·       Cityblock Health

·       Fastly (NYSE: FSLY)

·       Natera (NASDAQ: NTRA)

·       Nurix Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NRIX)

·       Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA)

·       Personalis

·       RingCentral (NYSE: RING)


Connecting Leaders

Recruiting the Best Executive Talent

Recently Completed Searches


  • Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications


  • Chief Business Officer

BEGA North America

  • Chief Financial Officer

Gen Digital (NASDAQ: GEN)

  • General Manager of Identity & Privacy

Genelux (NASDAQ: GNLX)

  • Chief Financial Officer


  • Chief Compliance Officer

Select Current Searches

Venture-Backed IOT PaaS

  • Vice President of Product

Private Diagnostics

  • Senior Director of People Programs

Private Biotechnology

  • Chief Business Officer

Private Online Publishing

  • Board of Directors (x2)

Private SaaS Technology

  • Senior Vice President of Human Resources

Public Software Technology

  • Vice President of Tax

Venture-Backed FinTech

  • Chief Financial Officer

National Non-Profit

  • Managing Director, HRIS & People Analytics

About FlemingMartin

FlemingMartin is a leading retained executive search firm focused on the Technology, Fintech, and Life Sciences industries. FlemingMartin partners with Boards, Venture Capital Firms, and company executives to build successful, execution-focused management teams. The Firm’s principals are trusted advisors and business partners who enable companies to gain powerful, far-reaching, and lasting contributions from their executive-level human capital. For more information on FlemingMartin, please visit