William D. Rowe II
Chairman & CEO
Rowe Global is a global retained executive search firm—whose business is recruiting executives to serve in leadership roles for companies in all industries and disciplines—established and designed to specialize in recruiting leadership for portfolio companies owned by Private Equity. William D. Rowe II, Chairman & CEO of Rowe Global, is unique in the retained executive search industry. He chose to pursue a career in retained executive search upon graduating from SMU in 1991. He believed the retained search process was a consulting service that could be learned and applied to any industry and discipline and has championed this belief for more than 30 years.
Due to this, Rowe can be defined as a generalist. There is no industry or a discipline he has not conducted a retained search for, including consumer products, food manufacturing, food service, Manufacturing, Distribution, Technology, Healthcare and Healthcare Services, QSR/Multi-unit restaurant, real estate, private family office, private equity, financial services, etc.
The combination of Rowe’s generalist industry background, coupled with his commitment to operating as “human capital partner” for his clients, he has created a firm that is driven to ensure clients are recruiting the talent they need both from a skills perspective and a cultural match for each organization they serve.
The firm’s commitment is to identify executives who must match the technical demands of the position and have a management style and personality that best fits each client company’s unique culture and operating persona.
Specializing in serving the private equity community for more than 18 years, Rowe and his team admit they think more like their private equity clients in terms of a committed understanding of this ownership structure’s investment cycle and demands. They approach each assignment as if they were the investors in the companies they serve. Thus, their analysis of each candidate is from the perspective of “is this the leader we would trust with our money to achieve the investment goals, operating goals/demands, in the timeline required, of the company they will lead or serve, be it in the CEO, CFO, COO, VP Sales, HR, Engineering, Operations, etc. position within the company.”
The mentality of serving as a “human capital partner” to each client is the driving force in each assignment they conduct. They are committed to the client relationship and the long-term success of the company they are serving and are never trying to optimize the revenue from a single search but to developing a long-lasting relationship with each client. Thus, 75% or more of the assignments they conduct annually are for repeat clients or private equity firms; most of them have been clients for more than 20 years.
“A ‘partner-driven’ mentality is what best describes our operating approach to search. As a firm, we have at least two consultants on each assignment, we meet with our clients and candidates directly, develop research and candidates directly and through this process learn our client’s culture, while also truly getting to know our candidates,” explains Rowe. “The act of “doing the doing,” not leveraging candidate development to a research group or analyst, allows us, as professionals, to better match the executive with the need. Our goal is to be considered the best at what we do, specifically serving the private equity community and always delivering the best possible results.”
Rowe Global is committed to developing long-term client relationships by serving clients as a “human capital partner.” This is defined by serving as a constant source of information and data within the human capital vertical. Specific assignments are transactional. Clients have a specific need, and the company recruits the solution for that need. Still, they initiate and develop the long-term relationship through the partnership mentality we bring to each client. Providing market insights, people of interest, trends in specific industries and disciplines to clients before, during, and after an active assignment is being executed. “Being a ready source of information for our clients to contact at any time. Spending the time to understand where each private equity client invests, the different verticals they are focused in and the types of deal flow they seek,” he explains. “At the company level, seeking to understand their products and services beyond just the search we are filling and providing information to both as we see and learn things across the broader market.”
Rowe Global strives to match candidates for each search beyond the technical skills demands to ensure they are placing an executive who matches the clients’ culture and character. This should be the goal of any retained search firm. Rowe believes this is why the retained executive search industry exists. To achieve these results, the most important part of each search assignment is developing a comprehensive position description. This document becomes a benchmark for candidacy and describes the company and the opportunity the candidates must consider. This can only be done by the search consultants spending personal time with the client leadership, getting to know the client’s business strategy, the backgrounds of existing leadership, and their management style. This personal interaction of the search consultants with the client and the candidate’s aids in seeking the best possible personality match.
This is the “partner driven” model mentioned previously; the team members “do the doing” and get to know the clients and candidates equally. “We do not depend on a highly leveraged service model of multiple associates or analysts to do the search work on each assignment.”
For the days to come, Rowe aims to add additional personnel and joint ventures within their industry to expand their ability to serve clients worldwide. “We are actively expanding our Board of Directors practice and with the expertise of our joint venture partner Ken Philbrick based in Denver, CO, we look to further expand this practice as a key element of our services over the next several years,” he adds.