"Wall Street Journal on CEO Agents"
"The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition"
If Career Needs Attention Maybe You Need an Agent?
Harvey Maslin was so busy running his business he had little time to run
his career. When he left his job as the No. 2 executive of a $400 million
personnel firm earlier this year, he hoped to land the top spot at another
firm. Then, a friend introduced him to Joe Meissner of Executive PR, a San
Francisco career agent.
Mr. Meissner convinced him to piece together his own company. He
launched a public-relations campaign on Mr. Maslin's behalf to burnish the
executive's image as a leader rather than as a subordinate and introduced
him to potential investors, management talent and even acquisition
Mr. Maslin eventually created WorldStaff, retaining Mr. Meissner as an
adviser and career steward
"I probably could have done this without him, but I would have
needed a half-dozen people to help me," Mr. Maslin says. "And I
wouldn't have gotten it done as fast as we have."
AGENTS VERSUS COACHES
Agents combine executive coaching and career consulting with marketing
and negotiations. They plot career strategy, help build networks of
business contacts, advise on salary talks and shape their clients' images.
They also screen job opportunities for employed clients.
With executive jobs and career directions changing more frequently than
in the past and the demand for so-called brand-name executives heating up,
the concept of the full-service career agent, common to the sports and
entertainment fields, has filtered into the business world.
STYBEL PEABODY LINCOLNSHIRE
Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire of Boston has a similar service, complete
with a team of financial planners, attorneys and even a theater director
to polish presentation style.
Most agents work for a percentage of their client's salary.
WHO COULD USE AN AGENT?
Well-known CEOs are candidates.
So are senior executives on the CEO fast track, rainmaking attorneys and
consultants, cutting-edge technology wizards and successful turnaround
artists. If you're thinking of getting an agent, ask yourself these
questions: Are you at or near the top of the class in what you do? Is what
you do in short supply? Do you lack the time or ability to plot career
strategy and build business contacts?
AGENTS TRADE ON THEIR CONTACTS
Executive agents trade on their career expertise and contacts. Mr.
Maslin, for example, hadn't conducted a job search in 30 years, and with
few contacts in the equity world, he hadn't seriously considered an
entrepreneurial venture. Mr. Meissner provided expertise, contacts and a
vision for Mr. Maslin's future. "It took Joe to take me through that
process to make me feel we could pull it off," Mr. Maslin says.
AGENTS OPERATE IN THE SHADOWS
In some ways, executive agents operate from the shadows. Stybel Peabody
Lincolnshire conducts anonymous job searches for executives who don't want
anyone to know they're sniffing around. Mr. Meissner remains in the
background if a recruiter balks at his participation.
To raise Mr. Maslin's profile, Mr. Meissner arranged interviews with
trade publications and booked a road show for meetings with
venture-capital and leveraged buy-out firms. For other clients, Mr.
Meissner has arranged speeches and gotten them involved with charitable
organizations that attract power brokers.
The Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire and Meissner role is similar To that of
an entertainment agent. "The really successful stars in show
business, if you look underneath, you'll see a great agent looking out for
their long-term career interests," he says. "He'll decide to do
this project or not do that album."
Once he lands his deal, Mr. McAdams says he will continue to retain his
agent. "A guy like me, when I'm managing a business, my nose is to
the grindstone," he says. "There's no one out there who
represents my interests."
Since 1979, Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire has been retained to assist
companies and individuals in achieving "smooth management transitions"
for key executives.
Core services include retained executive search, Coaching, CEO Agent,
and retained search.
Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire also has a program for the early
identification and cultivation of Rainmakers.
Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire was selected as partners of The
Massachusetts Hospital Association to provide assistance for key
executives in health care systems. The American Medical Association refers
physicians to Stybel Peabody Lincolnshire. The firm was selected as "Best"
in class by the readers of the MASSACHUSETTS LAWYERS WEEKLY for the past
three years in a row.
For further information, contact Maryanne Peabody at 617 371-2990.