U.K. Headhunter Enters Crowded U.S. Market

Grace Blue places leaders at agencies, media companies

In its migration to the U.S., British headhunter Grace Blue enters a crowded marketplace that includes industry-specific firms and conglomerates with marketing practices like Korn/Ferry.

Grace Blue CEO Jay Haines, however, is betting that his familiarity with global agencies and their parent companies, as well as media owners, will pay dividends now that he has dropped anchor in New York.

The six-year-old firm specializes in placing business and creative leaders at creative agencies, media agencies and media owners. Past searches include the March appointment of Jim Hytner as global CEO of Initiative and Publicis’ hiring of Karen Buchanan as U.K. CEO in 2011. 

Grace Blue is hedging its familiarity bet somewhat by associating with a well-known former agency leader in the U.S.

Mark Goldstein, who previously was chief marketing officer for BBDO and Fallon, has assumed the advisory role of executive chairman at Grace Blue. At this stage, Goldstein is leveraging industry relationships to introduce Haines and Grace Blue in the U.S. Last week, for example, Goldstein arranged meetings between Haines and advertising journalists.

Goldstein left BBDO in 2010 and now runs a new business consultancy called Eleven in Naples, Fla.

Haines, meanwhile, is house shopping in Westchester County, as he moves his family from London to New York. He’s expected to spend at least a year in the Big Apple to establish the U.S. practice, including a presence on the West Coast.

Who knows? If he’s successful and likes America, he may stay even longer.

Recommended articles