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Chicago is perfectly aligned at the intersection of national and international business ecosystems; a natural locus for global leaders and innovators. That’s why Egon Zehnder, the world’s leadership advisory firm, calls Chicago, and One North Wacker, home. 

Douglas Kush, Irvine Co.’s Chicago Office Leader

Global Connectivity at the Helm

Chicago Office Leader Douglas Kush, states: “Chicago is a great place to be from an executive search standpoint, where mobility and access to our international clients is critical. Here, we’re in the center of the country — only two time zones away from any part of the U.S. — and we can go virtually anywhere in the world on one flight.” Global connectivity is crucial for them; Egon Zehnder is a Swiss-based leadership advisory and executive search firm that started in Zurich in 1964. The company’s current CEO, Edilson Camara, recently relocated headquarters to the Chicago office at One North Wacker. Of their presence in Chicago, Kush says, “Chicago is, in and of itself, a large, important market. We appreciate that we are in the land of giants, and we love that challenge.” 

The Frontlines of Talent Development

Egon Zehnder responds to that challenge with a focused, original point of view, first introduced by founder and namesake Egon Zehnder. As part of Zehnder’s original vision, the firm places emphasis on building a strong culture of professionalism, and doesn’t hire from other search firms. Their unique philosophy allows them to recruit a nuanced, multi-dimensional class of talent that’s expert and well-rounded in many facets of business. Of their talent’s diversity, Kush shares, “Our team represents a broad spectrum of experts and specialists at Egon Zehnder. At the end of the day, we want A-players, people whose backgrounds and perspectives revolve around a shared passion for talent and developing leadership.” This distinctive approach is then supported with ongoing professional development. “Anybody we hire, no matter where they are in the world, goes through the same trainings, so they’re grounded in a common experience,” Kush says.

Beyond executive recruitment, talent development is core to the Egon Zehnder service model. As Kush states, “The world is changing; today, there is no linear path to becoming a member of the C suite in our clients’ organizations. Leadership development now calls for a vastly different skillset and mindset, requiring us to help clients embrace the process of fostering a person’s own ability to develop themselves and react to changing circumstances, as opposed to seeking a set of very specific experiences.”  It’s this critical thinking that sets Egon Zehnder apart; their approach to executive recruitment is modelled by the way they themselves operate, providing an authentic and deeply rooted sensibility to their work. 

People First, Always

With a human-centric grounding so critical to Egon Zehnder’s success, the company takes full advantage of their headquarters at One North Wacker. “The building is one of the great office towers on Wacker Drive, and as our headquarters, speaks well to our company’s reputation and values. And from a practical point of view, the location is ideal for our staff,” says Kush. Whether people are commuting from the suburbs or hopping a train from the neighborhoods, people appreciate the ease of getting to and from the office. And from our home base on North Wacker, staff are a short walk to hotspots in the West Loop or the Lakefront, so they can take full advantage of working in the heart of Chicago.”

“Our staff really appreciates the social aspects of the building, and takes advantage of programming like book clubs, guest speakers and gift wrapping and flowers on Valentine’s Day,” Kush shares. Behind this programming is Irvine’s team of property managers and concierge members, continually seeking to broaden bonds within the building. Kush says, “The building staff is fantastic. They’re accommodating, always on top of things and always willing to help out.” 

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