Real Estate Alert: Ferguson Partners Taps New President

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Reprinted from Green Street's Real Estate Alert:

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Ferguson Partners is bringing aboard Graham Beatty as president to oversee the next stage of growth at the 35-year-old global executive-search and advisory firm.

Beatty starts next month in New York. He will report to chief executive and co-founder William Ferguson on advisory business matters and to the firm’s board on companywide issues.

Beatty, a 20-plus-year industry veteran, most recently was a partner and Americas sector leader for real estate at Heidrick & Struggles, where he spent more than 11 years in three stints. In between, he held roles at Russell Reynolds and Rhodes Associates.

At Ferguson Partners, Beatty will be charged with continuing the firm’s buildout to address the evolving needs of the industry. “We view this as a critical juncture in the market,” Beatty said. “We are already seeing clients start to strategically reposition their businesses, and there are challenges we can help them tackle.”

The firm plans to address those challenges, in part, by growing its own talent pool, he added. “We will do a strategic assessment of various industry sectors and geographies that would be relevant to grow the firm.”

William Ferguson noted that the firm’s positioning reflects the ongoing evolution of the market. When Ferguson Partners launched in 1989, “the industry was very entrepreneurial and largely privately held,” he said. As the sector grew to become more globalized and institutionalized, the firm expanded beyond search to include consulting practices for compensation, leadership, management, organization and strategy.

“This organization has outgrown me, as many successful, entrepreneurial organizations have outgrown their founders,” Ferguson said. “It is sufficiently large and diversified where it needs someone with Graham’s leadership talents, partnered with our global team, to lead and manage the enterprise.”

Today, the firm has about 100 staffers in four offices in North America, four in Asia and Australia and one in London. Beatty will frequent those outposts, along with the firm’s Chicago headquarters.

In a typical year, Ferguson Partners handles 250 to 300 search assignments, with a concentration in board work and C-suite positions. It handles a roughly equal number of assignments on the advisory side, Ferguson said.

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