Gary Kastenbaum and Carlyle Newell have a string of executive search successes that span the globe.
The duo, who head the New Jersey office of Boyden Executive Search, have been a go-to resource for international companies looking for C-level executives and to get connected — or better connected — in the Garden State.
When Holland-based Friesland Campina wanted to expand to the U.S., Kastenbaum and Newell helped it not only secure a CEO and board member, but found it executives to help navigate the move and attorneys to help with the process of setting up in Paramus. The division today has revenues of more than $250 million.
When Netherlands-based DSM needed new leadership at the top, they not only helped it find a new CEO for its Parsippany-based U.S. operations, but a global head for its nutrition business in Basel, Switzerland.
And when Optum, a division of United Healthcare, was in need of specialized senior sales talent, they helped recruit individuals to grow the employer and provider business segment.
Being part of a company with global reach — Boyden has 400 partners in 75 offices in 43 countries — has its advantages.
But as Kastenbaum, the managing partner, and Newell, the Americas regional leader, look forward, they are determined to become an even bigger player in New Jersey.
“Forty percent of what we do is New Jersey-based,” Newell said. “We made a strategic decision two years ago to increase that. Even though we are international in scope, we want to be the go-to firm in New Jersey.”
That means serving clients in a number of capacities.
“Our process is to be trusted advisers,” Newell said. “We have connected companies with private equity companies for expansion and for sale, we have helped international organizations come to the U.S., we have brought companies new board members.
“We feel we not only help companies grow, we also help families transfer assets when they’ve built up a company and they’re not taking it to the next generation. Everything comes down to leadership, either having the right people or connecting to the right people. That’s what we do very well.”
Kastenbaum said the process is not simple. And that’s the key to Boyden’s growth. Last year, the 10-person Summit-based office did more than $5 million in revenue and is one of the most profitable offices in the network.
“If it were easy, companies would do it themselves,” he said. “We end up working on very difficult projects where either the industry is obscure or they’ve tried before to fill this role and they just couldn’t find the right person. We like to say it’s a needle in a stack of needles. On the surface, it sounds very simple, but if it was this easy, organizations would just do it on their own.”
Often, Kastenbaum said, companies cannot do the search on their own because of the sensitive nature of the search.
“Many of the large organizations we work with have their own large-scale recruiting operations that are very competent, but they usually end up in a situation where it’s very confidential — they are making a change and they don’t want everyone to know — or it’s very difficult,” he said.
“They have tried before and they couldn’t succeed. We have a very high success rate, which makes organizations say, ‘We are going to use you again.’”
Success, Kastenbaum and Newell said, starts with the process.
“One of the biggest competencies we bring to our clients is the ability to identify and attract the candidate that has the leadership skills and functional expertise to execute on specific goals and objectives of our clients,” Kastenbaum said. “This sounds, on one level, to be very simple: Find someone who has done the task and recruit them. However, each organization has a culture and a way of doing business and this candidate must fit to be successful long term.
“It’s very well known that having the technical skills alone will not ensure candidate success. Therefore we are looking at all aspects of the candidate, their track record, their successes in the past, gaps and how they are explained.”
How a candidate has handled their failures can be just as important as their successes.
“Our methodology is to use a behavioral event interviewing process where we can fully understand what has made the candidate successful and how they have dealt with situations that may have led to less than desirable results,” Kastenbaum said. Newell said they have a specialty in food, financials and industrial, chemical and manufacturing, but feel Boyden’s global reach enables them to handle any search.
“No matter what it is or where it is, we can bring in the right team,” he said. “We have a unified database and work together.”
Lori Campos is a freelance writer based in Morris Plains.