Companies & Industries

Robert J. Brudno


Managing director, Savoy Partners

Company Info: Savoy Partners

Web site: www.savoypartners.com

Address: 1133 20th Street, NW #200, Washington, DC 20036

Phone: 202-887-0667

E-mail: N/A

Advice: A sense of humor and humility are sought-after qualities. If you have both, show them. Do not presume that a new organization wants you to bring your team with you. Bringing managers who have followed you around turns off leaders at your new company because they are viewed as beholden to you, not their new team.

Qualities sought in emerging leaders: Intellect, honesty, self-deprecation, and a sense of humor, along with experience that fits the job at hand. I don't believe in the "universal candidate" who assumes he or she is being brought in to impose the practices of his or her most recent company. I look for multiple past affiliations, but not frequent change, regardless of candidates' explanations for each move, except, of course, the sale of their company. Top leaders make things work consistently over their career.

Sector specialization: Defense/aerospace; high-tech/IT/communications; professional services/consulting; health care

Job function specialization: CEOs, COOs, CFOs, senior marketing and business development executives, general management, board members

Geographical Focus: U.S., some international

Companies I often recruit for: Booz Allen Hamilton ; SAIC ; ITT ; Computer Sciences Corp.; SRA International

Favorite historical figure: John Adams. I grew up in Quincy, Mass., the birthplace of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and John Hancock. I went to the Adams School and lived on Hancock Street. They aren't making leaders like that anymore.

Education: Wharton School, MBA with Distinction, 1972; Tufts Univ., BS, Mathematics, 1966

Languages: English, French

Employment history: Savoy Partners, Founder and Managing Director, 1990 to present; Leon A. Farley Associates, Managing Partner, Washington, 1980-90 (acquired this office to start Savoy Partners); DHS Corp., Executive Vice-President, 1973-80; Booz Allen Hamilton, Consultant, 1972-73; U.S. Navy, Lieutenant, 1966-70

Other interests: Avid sailor; devote much of my remaining spare time to veteran's issues and treatment of the psychological wounds of combat

Professional/Membership Affiliations: IACPR, Gibson Island Club, Wharton Club

Experience in executive search consulting: 28 years

High Profile Placement: I recruited Ken Dahlberg to be CEO of SAIC, a $9 billion+ public company, to replace their long-time founder. Founder-succession searches are always a challenge. One of the largest search firms had the search for months and presented dozens of candidates. Since failure was not an option, we were engaged in parallel. I presented one candidate—the finalist and CEO today.

Other paths I might have pursued: Sometimes I think it would have been great to become the professional captain on someone else's megayacht

The global business trend that will most influence corporate performance in the future: The global trend that should influence corporate performance would be greater professional and moral accountability from those who recruit, install, and maintain weak corporate leaders. In the case of most well-publicized meltdowns of companies, it is rare that insiders did not know that bad things were likely to occur. Too many people pay no price for the damage they cause, and their enablers are rarely held to account. Fix that and watch performance soar.


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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