Korn Ferry

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Korn Ferry
S&P 600 Component
IndustryProfessional services
FoundedNovember 14, 1969; 52 years ago (1969-11-14)
FounderLester Korn
Richard Ferry
Headquarters1900 Avenue of the Stars,
Key people
Gary Burnison (CEO)[1]
ProductsExecutive search, Management Consulting, Outsourcing, SaaS
RevenueIncrease US $1.926 billion (FY19)[2]
Increase US $102.7 million (FY19)[3]
Number of employees
8,198 (2020)

Korn Ferry is a management consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, California. It was founded in 1969 and as of 2019, operates in 111 offices in 53 countries and employs 8,198 people worldwide.[4] Korn Ferry operates through four business segments: Consulting, Digital, Executive Search, and RPO and Professional Search.[4]


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]

In 1969 the firm went public with an initial public offering (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.[7] With the opening in 1975 of Korn Ferry International Singapore, the company had 41 offices in 20 countries.[8] In 1977 they acquired the Mexico City firm Hazzard & Associados. 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 the firm opened an office in Bangkok, Thailand. They then had 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]

In May 1991 Lester Korn retired as chairman and Richard Ferry, the president and CEO, assumed the additional role of chairman.[13] Following this, the firm initiated several office closures.[14] In 1992 Korn Ferry implemented a video-conferencing system for screening job candidates.[15] In 1993, the firm acquired Carre Orban and Partners and merged its European operations into a firm branded in Europe as Korn/Ferry Carre/Orban International.[16] In the next five years, the firm opened their first offices 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 Futurestep.com, aimed at the middle management level.[19][20] By 2001 Futurestep had been rolled out to 22 countries; it incurred worldwide losses of $60 million through January 31, 2001.[21]

In 1999 Korn Ferry acquired the German firm Hofman Herbold and the Australian firm Amrop International.[22] In 2000 it acquired the London-based PA Consulting Group for an estimated $35M. In 2000 it purchased Boston-based financial services search firm Westgate Group,[23] and Canada-based Pratzer & Partners Inc.[24]

During an executive-search industry contraction, 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. This was 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 Korn Ferry purchased Levy Kerson, Helstrom Turner & Associates, and Pearson, Caldwell, and Farnworth.[26] In 2005 the firm moved its regional head office to Shanghai, China,[17] and had a total 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.[27] In 2008 they acquired Lore International Institute, and in June 2009, they acquired the London-based Whitehead Mann.[29] In 2010 they acquired Sensa Solutions, in 2013 Korn Ferry completed its acquisition of Minneapolis-based PDI Ninth House for $80M;[30] in 2015 they acquired Pivot Leadership[31] and Hay Group.[32]

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.[33]

Whitehead Mann[edit]

Whitehead Mann was a London-based executive search firm was acquired by Korn/Ferry International in June 2009.[34]

Whitehead Engineering was founded by Clive Whitehead, who on marriage merged his firm with that of his wife's, the psychologist Anna Mann (Mann Recruitment), to form Whitehead Mann in the 1970s. The firm listed on the AIM part of FTSE in 1997. By 2003 the company had market capitalisation of £33 million mainly through acquisition, with offices in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and New York; together with training and advisory divisions.[citation needed]

During the dot.com boom, the firm's fortunes climbed and fell. After strategy disagreements with new CEO Gerard Clery-Melin, in 2003 Mann announced her decision to leave the firm, subsequently setting up MWM Consulting in 2004.[35][failed verification] In 2006, the company was subject of a £26 million management buyout, financed by investor Palladian Investors, a division of Och-Ziff. Carol Leonard subsequently took a six-month sabbatical as head of search, and then left the firm in February 2009.[36]


In 2005 Korn Ferry accused one of its former star recruiters, David Nosal, of stealing confidential client data to establish his own competing firm.[37] In 2008 Nosal was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).[38] In 2016 the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, in United States v Nosal, that Nosal's was a criminal act under CFAA."[38] In 2018 Nosal was ordered to prison.[39]


On June 19, 2019, the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry announced they had entered a 10-year agreement making Korn Ferry the Umbrella Sponsor of the newly named Korn Ferry Tour, the developmental tour for the PGA. In replacing Web.com, Korn Ferry's sponsorship will extend through the 2028 season.[40] The Korn Ferry Tour will continue to award PGA Tour membership to the Tour's 50 leading players, including the top 25 from the Regular Season points list and the top 25 from the three-event Korn Ferry Tour Finals points list.[41]


  1. ^ a b c Lublin, Joann S. (April 2, 2015). "Suit Alleges Korn/Ferry Fired Official In Retaliation" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. p. B3. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  2. ^ "Korn/Ferry International Revenue & Earnings Per Share (EPS)".
  3. ^ "Korn/Ferry International (KFY)".
  4. ^ a b "Korn Ferry Form 10-K" (PDF). ir.kornferry.com. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  5. ^ Hilder, David B. (July 16, 1987). "Headhunter Gets Recruited for U.N. Post" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. p. N/A. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  6. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (May 7, 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 December 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Kikuchiz, Seiichi (July 28, 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 (May 18, 1992). "More S'pore Execs Becoming Expatriate Workers in Region". Singapore: The Straits Times.
  9. ^ "Korn/Ferry Delighted With Appointment". Malaysia: The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd. Media Prima. January 14, 1997.
  10. ^ Jenn, Nancy Garrison (April 2005). Headhunters and How to Use Them: A Guide for Organisations and Individuals. ISBN 9781861977342.
  11. ^ Barmash, Isadore (April 21, 1981). "Talking Business with Nesbit of Korn/Ferry". New York Times. New York, N.Y., United States. Retrieved December 9, 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. May 13, 1991. p. B10.
  14. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (August 2, 1991). "Headhunters Seek Solution to Slowdown by Adding Services, Expanding Abroad" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. p. B1.
  15. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (October 13, 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. ^ The Economist, and Nancy Garrison Jenn. Headhunters and How to Use Them: A Guide for Organisations and Individuals. London, England : Profile Books. [1]
  17. ^ a b Jonathan V. Beaverstock; James R. Faulconbridge; Sarah J.E. Hall (September 19, 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. (October 25, 1999). "Big Recruiters Set Sites on High-Tech Job Hoppers". 15 (43). Crain's New York Business. p. 36. 2p.
  19. ^ Richtel, Matt (June 8, 1998). "A New Executive-Recruiting Service on the Web". New York Times (Business/Financial Desk). New York, N.Y., United States. p. D6. Retrieved December 9, 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. June 8, 1998. p. B11. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  21. ^ Teo, Anna (May 15, 2001). "Internet Recruitment Does Not Work : Russell Reynolds". Singapore: The Business Times Singapore. p. 1.
  22. ^ Boreham, Tim (June 24, 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. June 14, 2000. p. 2E.
  24. ^ "Korn/Ferry International" (Appointment Notices-Adv't). The Globe and Mail (Canada). January 19, 2011. p. B10.
  25. ^ Tkacik, Maureen (August 21, 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 December 12, 2016.
  26. ^ Beaverstock, Jonathan V.; Faulconbridge, James R.; Hall, Sarah J. E. (September 19, 2014). The Globalization of Executive Search: Professional Services Strategy and Dynamics in the Contemporary World. ISBN 9781317675358.
  27. ^ a b St. Anthony, Neal (January 10, 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 (December 9, 2014). "Here's What Boards Want in Executives" (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y., United States: Wall Street Journal. p. B5. Retrieved December 20, 2016.
  29. ^ Andrews, Amanda (June 12, 2009). "Recruitment firm Korn/Ferry acquires British headhunter Whitehead Mann". The Telegraph. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  30. ^ St. Anthony, Neal (July 28, 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[bare URL]
  32. ^ "Korn Ferry to buy Hay Group for $452m". Financial Times. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  33. ^ Smith, Rich. "Why Korn/Ferry Stock Just Jumped 13%". The Motley Fool. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  34. ^ Andrews, Amanda (June 12, 2009). "Recruitment firm Korn/Ferry acquires British headhunter Whitehead Mann". London: Telegraph. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  35. ^ "About us". MWM Consulting. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  36. ^ Jonathan Russell (February 21, 2009). "Headhunter Carol Leonard to quit Whitehead Mann". London: 21 February 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  37. ^ Lublin, Joann S. (August 16, 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 December 12, 2016.
  38. ^ a b Smith, Nigel M (July 8, 2016). "Court Ruling Could Make Sharing Netflix and Spotify Passwords a Federal crime". The Guardian. London. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved December 19, 2016.
  39. ^ "Former Korn Ferry exec David Nosal in prison after lengthy legal fight". www2.staffingindustry.com. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  40. ^ Hennessey, Stephen. "Korn Ferry replaces Web.com as the umbrella sponsor of the PGA Tour's developmental tour". Golf Digest. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  41. ^ "PGA Tour announces Korn Ferry as umbrella sponsor of newly named Korn Ferry Tour". PGA Tour. Retrieved June 24, 2019.

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