Magazine article American Banker

As Banks Gobble Each Other Up, Headhunters Flourish

Magazine article American Banker

As Banks Gobble Each Other Up, Headhunters Flourish

Article excerpt

Richard C. Perkey could have stayed at First Union Corp. until he retired.

Back in 1991, when he was 33, Mr. Perkey had been at the Charlotte, N.C.- based company for 11 years, steadily climbing his way up the corporate ladder to become manager of consumer banking in the bank's $1.8 billion asset Jacksonville, Fla., office.

Literally speaking, First Union was his family. In 1991 he married a colleague who is now a senior vice president.

But Mr. Perkey chose to leave the nest.

"I decided that I wanted to satisfy some curiosity about life outside of banking," he said.

So Mr. Perkey became a headhunter, joining Korn/Ferry International's Atlanta office. Last year, he became a partner in the firm.

Such a career move is hardly unusual for the executive search industry. Most search personnel are recruited from the industry they later specialize in as a headhunter.

But with more senior-level bankers finding themselves out of work, and banks relying on executive search firms to satisfy their rapidly changing personnel needs, headhunting has also become a viable career option for disenfranchised bankers, observers said.

"Executive search has become a more valued tool among all corporations," said Peter W. Kelly, managing partner at R. Rollo Associates, a Los Angeles search firm.

Others agreed that though the number of bank clients has shrunk because of consolidation, the number of searches per client has increased. Between 1991 and midyear 1996, Mr. Perkey's office conducted 43 searches for a single regional bank, 41 of them successful, he said. …

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