UP CLOSE: Kevin O’Neill, standing with red tie, has his executive search firm, O’Neill Consulting Group, spend the time understanding the needs of clients. With O’Neill at the company’s South Kingstown offices are, from left, Director of Finance and Administration Lori Partington, administrator Antoinette Ferrara and research associate Nathan Chubay.
A planned expansion to Providence this fall for the O’Neill Consulting Group is an outgrowth of the executive search firm’s success in producing results for its clients, says Kevin R. O’Neill, president and CEO.
When LoJack Corp. in Canton, Mass., recently needed a chief technology officer, the firm turned to the O’Neill Group to help find the right talent, said O’Neill.
An executive search led to a short list of candidates that resulted in the hiring of CTO Emad S. Isaac. Having already had a relationship with company executives, the search firm took that to the next level by becoming “LoJack insiders,” O’Neill said.
“We work face to face,” he explained. “We do not have transactional, distant relationships with our clients. We spend time with them, get on site, breathe the air, listen to them. We want to hear their story. So we were allowed incredible access to the CEO, the head of [human resources], the team doing this critical search.”
O’Neill Consulting is paid based on the anticipated compensation of the executive that is being hired, O’Neill said. Clients are not necessarily paying for a result, he said, although the firm’s process “historically leads to a very good result.” The firm typically fills “C-level” positions: CEOs, chief financial officers and so on.
“We don’t aggressively pursue middle market work but that tends to come as we build senior relationships,” he said.
Besides forming a team to conduct national or international searches, O’Neill’s company does extensive background research on the best sources of talent and develops “a long list of target candidates” for its clients in the fields of consumer goods, private equity, industrial and manufacturing, life sciences, health care and wellness, and general services like technology, insurance or nonprofits, he said.
For the first half of 2014, revenue for the O’Neill Group nearly matched annual sales of $3.2 million for the entire previous year, O’Neill said, positioning the company for rapid growth.
“We’re in full-court-press mode,” he said.
Emphasizing the “Three C’s – consistency, commitment and care,” O’Neill has 18 employees based in South Kingstown, two in a Dallas office, and one in Raleigh, N.C. Three satellite marketing offices in Boston, London and Shanghai provide access to contractors, O’Neill said.