Korn Ferry

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Korn Ferry
Traded asNYSEKFY
S&P 600 Component
IndustryProfessional services
FoundedNovember 14, 1969; 49 years ago (1969-11-14)
FounderLester Korn
Richard Ferry
Headquarters1900 Avenue of the Stars,
Key people
Gary Burnison (CEO)[1]
Robert P. Rozek (EVP, CFO and CCO)
ProductsManagement consulting
Leadership development
Executive search
RevenueIncrease US $1.819 billion (FY18)[2]
Increase US $133.779 million (FY18)[3]
Number of employees
7,500 (2018)[4]

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles. It was founded in 1969.



Korn Ferry was founded in 1969 by Lester Korn and Richard Ferry. The two first met in 1962, when they worked for Los Angeles accounting firm Peat, Marwick, Mitchell.[5] Before leaving to form Korn Ferry, the two were made partners at the firm.[5]

Initial public offering in 1972[edit]

In 1972 the firm went public with an IPO, but in 1974 reacquired all outstanding shares to become private again.[6]


In 1973 Korn Ferry formed Tokyo, Japan based Korn Ferry International Japan in 1973.[7] With the opening in 1975 of Korn Ferry International Singapore the company had 41 offices in 20 countries.[8] In 1977 Korn Ferry acquired the Mexico City firm Hazzard & Associados. The next year in 1978 they opened offices in Malaysia[9] and Hong Kong and acquired the UK firm John Stork. In 1979 they acquired Australian-based Guy Pease Associates.[10] In 1981 the company became the largest executive search firm in the world, with Lester Korn serving as Chairman and CEO.[11] In 1987 Korn Ferry opened an office in Bangkok, Thailand with a footprint of 37 offices in fifteen countries servicing around 1,250 client corporations and organizations.[12] In 1989, the firm's revenues exceeded $100 million for the first time.[13]


On May 10, 1991 Lester Korn retired as chairman, with Richard Ferry then president and CEO assuming the additional role of chairman.[13] Following this Richard Ferry several initial office closures.[14] Beginning in 1992 Korn Ferry implemented a video-conferencing system to speed up the screening of job candidates.[15] Under Richard Ferry, Korn Ferry in 1993 acquired and merged its European operations into Carre Orban and Partners that was branded in Europe as Korn/Ferry Carre/Orban International.[16] Korn Ferry next opened their first office in India (1994), China (1995), Indonesia (1996), and South Korea (1998).[17]

In August 1998,[18] Korn Ferry partnered with the Wall Street Journal to start the internet venture Futurestep.com, which was utilized to help candidates at the middle management level specifically find positions to advance their career.[19][20] By 2001 Futurestep had been rolled out to 22 countries with worldwide losses of $60 million since beginning in May 1998 with $23M in the nine months to Jan 31, 2001.[21]

In 1999 they acquired the German firm Hofman Herbold and separately the Australian firm Amrop International for $3.8M.[22] In 2000 acquiring the London-based PA Consulting Group for an estimated $35M. In 2000 they purchased Boston-based search firm specializing in financial services Westgate Group,[23] and Pratzer & Partners Inc. a Canada-based boutique executive recruiting firms.[24]


Amongst an executive-search industry contraction during 2000 Korn Ferry's 2001 redundancies were "more dramatic than those of competitors who aren't publicly traded" such as Spencer Stuart and Russell Reynolds Associates. The greater reductions were reported and attributed to having "expanded so heavily during the technology boom" coupled with Korn Ferry's new CEO Paul C. Reilly choosing to "send a message to shareholders."[25]

In 2001 they purchased Levy Kerson, Helstrom Turner & Associates, and Pearson, Caldwell, and Farnworth.[26] In 2005 Korn Ferry moved their regional head office to Shanghai, China[17] with a footprint of 73 offices in forty countries. In 2006 Korn Ferry acquired leadership development tools firm Lominger Limited of Golden Valley for $24M.[1]

In 2006 the company acquired Lominger International, and in 2007 Gary Burnison became the company’s new CEO.[1][27][28] That year the company acquired LeaderSource in 2007.[27] In 2008 Korn Ferry acquired Lore International Institute. Then in June 2009, Korn Ferry acquired the London-based executive search firm Whitehead Mann.[29] IIn 2010 it acquired Sensa Solutions, in 2013 Korn Ferry completed its acquisition of Minneapolis-based PDI Ninth House for $80M,[30] and in 2015 Korn Ferry also acquired Pivot Leadership.[31]

Corporate affairs[edit]

As of 2018, Korn Ferry employed 7,643 people worldwide.[32]


In 2005 Korn Ferry accused one of its former star recruiters, David Nosal, of stealing confidential client data to establish his own competing firm.[33] In 2008 Nosal was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) noting that he "acted "without authorization" in violation of the law."[34] In 2016 the US court of appeals from the ninth circuit ruled in United States v Nosal in Korn Ferry's favor that Nosal's "activity now constitutes a criminal act, under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)."[34]

Current operations[edit]

Korn Ferry New York Headquarters on the 33rd floor of the MetLife Building, at 200 Park Avenue, in Manhattan.

In 2018 Korn Ferry took a one-time, non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of $106 million, or $79 million on an after-tax basis, to account for rebranding its entire business simply as "Korn Ferry," and sunsetting all the Company's sub-brands, including Futurestep, Hay Group and Lominger.[35] Since the firm's inception, it has conducted over 100,000 senior-level searches,[36] and placed about seventy thousand managers.[37] Korn Ferry is known for its "headhunting technology".[17]


  1. ^ a b c Lublin, Joann S. (2 April 2015). "Suit Alleges Korn/Ferry Fired Official In Retaliation" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B3. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Korn/Ferry International Revenue & Earnings Per Share (EPS)".
  3. ^ "Korn/Ferry International (KFY)".
  4. ^ McCann, David (24 September 2015). "Korn Ferry, Hay Group Join Forces". United States: CFO.com. Argyle Executive Forum. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b Hilder, David B. (16 July 1987). "Headhunter Gets Recruited for U.N. Post" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. N/A. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  6. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (7 May 1998). "Korn/Ferry Mulls IPO for Search Firm As a Way to Remain Industry Leader" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B20. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  7. ^ Kikuchiz, Seiichi (28 July 1981). "Japanese Enterprise Also Begin to Make Use of Executive Search Firms". Japan: The Japan Economic Journal. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun. p. 15.
  8. ^ Adversario, Patricia (18 May 1992). "More S'pore Execs Becoming Expatriate Workers in Region". Singapore: The Straits Times. Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co.
  9. ^ "Korn/Ferry Delighted With Appointment". Malaysia: The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd. Media Prima. 14 January 1997.
  10. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=wCCqaDKu7T4C&pg=PA82
  11. ^ Barmash, Isadore (21 April 1981). "Talking Business with Nesbit of Korn/Ferry" (Late City Final Edition). New York, N.Y., United States: New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  12. ^ Stewart D. Friedman (January 1987). Leadership Succession. Transaction Publishers. pp. 146–. ISBN 978-0-88738-162-1.
  13. ^ a b "Korn/Ferry's Chief Adds Chairman Post" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. 13 May 1991. p. B10.
  14. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (2 August 1991). "Headhunters Seek Solution to Slowdown by Adding Services, Expanding Abroad" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B1.
  15. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (13 October 1992). "Search Firm Puts Prospects in Focus" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B1.
  16. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=krATAQAAMAAJ&q=Korn/Ferry+Carre/Orban+International+1993&dq=Korn/Ferry+Carre/Orban+International+1993&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJgPe9ucjdAhXprlQKHStSBTAQ6AEIKzAB
  17. ^ a b c Jonathan V. Beaverstock; James R. Faulconbridge; Sarah J.E. Hall (19 September 2014). The Globalization of Executive Search: Professional Services Strategy and Dynamics in the Contemporary World. Routledge. pp. 79–80, 243, 51, 189. ISBN 978-1-317-67535-8.
  18. ^ Blake, Wendy E. (25 October 1999). "Big Recruiters Set Sites on High-Tech Job Hoppers" (Vol. 15 Issue 43). Crain's New York Business. Crain Communications Inc. p. 36. 2p.
  19. ^ Richtel, Matt (8 June 1998). "A New Executive-Recruiting Service on the Web" (Business/Financial Desk). New York, N.Y., United States: New York Times. p. D6. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Wall Street Journal, Korn/Ferry Form Job-Search Joint Venture" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. 8 June 1998. p. B11. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  21. ^ Teo, Anna (15 May 2001). "Internet Recruitment Does Not Work : Russell Reynolds". Singapore: The Business Times Singapore. Singapore Press Holdings Limited. p. 1.
  22. ^ Boreham, Tim (24 June 1999). "Korn Ferry Headhunts Amrop Arm" (Finance). The Australian. p. 22.
  23. ^ "Korn/Ferry to buy Westgate Group". Atlanta, United States: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. 14 June 2000. p. 2E.
  24. ^ "Korn/Ferry International" (Appointment Notices-Adv't). The Globe and Mail (Canada). 19 January 2011. p. B10.
  25. ^ Tkacik, Maureen (21 August 2001). "Korn/Ferry to Slash Work Force By 20% in New Round of Job" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. A4. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  26. ^ https://books.google.ca/books?id=EpuQBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA80
  27. ^ a b St. Anthony, Neal (10 January 2007). "Korn/Ferry International to acquire LeaderSource; The purchase, in addition to one last year of Lominger International, broadens Korn/Ferry's areas of business" (Metro Edition). Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN).
  28. ^ Weber, Lauren (9 December 2014). "Here's What Boards Want in Executives" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B5. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  29. ^ Andrews, Amanda (12 June 2009). "Recruitment firm Korn/Ferry acquires British headhunter Whitehead Mann". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  30. ^ St. Anthony, Neal (28 July 2014). "Korn Ferry Division Grows in Mpls" (Metro Edition). Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN).
  31. ^ https://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2015/02/13/korn-ferry-to-buy-pivot-leadership.html
  32. ^ "SEC Filing | Korn/Ferry International". ir.kornferry.com. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  33. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (16 August 2005). "A Company and Its Secrets; Korn/Ferry Alleges Theft Of Confidential Client Data By A Former Star Recruiter" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company Inc. p. B1. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  34. ^ a b Smith, Nigel M (8 July 2016). "Court Ruling Could Make Sharing Netflix and Spotify Passwords a Federal crime". London: The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  35. ^ Smith, Rich. "Why Korn/Ferry Stock Just Jumped 13%". The Motley Fool. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
  36. ^ Reese, John (31 January 2008). "KFY Is a Good Fit". TheStreet.com. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
  37. ^ Laurence Ackerman (18 August 2011). Identity Is Destiny: Leadership and the Roots of Value Creation. ReadHowYouWant.com. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-1-4596-2616-4.

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