Heads: Business Lessons from an Executive Search Pioneer

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The behind-the-scenes story of how a headhunting pioneer helped shape an industry Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, Reynolds graduated from Philips Exeter and Yale before joining the U.S. Air Force as a navigator-bombardier in a B-36. After his stint in the military, Reynolds returned to J.P. Morgan as a lending officer, where he learned the lessons and began making the connections that would drive his long and illustrious career. Reynolds’ first foray into the executive recruiting industry he helped influence was with the New York search firm William H. Clark Associates. He quickly displayed his talents as a recruiter, and three short years later, on October 2, 1969, he founded Russell Reynolds Associates (RRA). That’s when the executive search business changed – for the better. Until then, the general feeling among business professionals was that executive search firms simply took advantage of easy access to corporate money without delivering real value to clients. With smart, forward-looking, disciplined marketing, Reynolds helped establish executive search professionals as important elements in the smooth running of American business – all while opening new offices around the world. Filled with cameo appearances by some of the twentieth-century’s greatest business titans, “Heads” is the fascinating story not only of how RRA became one of the world’s most influential executive search firms but also of how one man transformed an industry.

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