Curran will shortly get a bird’s-eye view of that global challenge when she takes up the position of global chair of IIC Partners, a network of independently owned and managed member firms which collectively form one of the world’s top 10 executive search organisations. MERC Partners’ relationship with IIC Partners stretches back some 12 years, reflecting not only the Irish firm’s leadership position in executive search internationally in Ireland but the increasing significance of the country as the location of choice for many global brands.
The role of chair follows Curran’s election as vice chair in 2013 and makes her the youngest person to hold the position to date. She says she relishes the opportunity for a number of reasons. ‘I see it as an honour and my vision over the next three years will be to elevate the IIC Partners brand internationally,’ she says.
Curran joined MERC Partners as a junior consultant in 1999, having spent a number of years in industry finance roles.
‘MERC was the first management consultancy company in the world to have achieved a quality mark accreditation and it had a stellar reputation in the industry in terms of integrity,’ she says. ‘I felt I was joining a very impressive company where a partner’s word was their bond.’ She would quickly see that her background in finance could open up valuable conversations with CFOs and CEOs in the financial sphere, enabling her to ‘carve out a niche for myself very quickly as a result. I got entrusted with responsibilities by the partners from an early stage.’
A decade-and-a-half later, and in the wake of economic highs and lows, Curran says that the profession of executive search has changed, largely in tandem with the growth of globalisation. ‘We now operate more on an international scale and that means we will source, search for, identify and place talent not only locally but globally too,’ she says.
As to what is changing in terms of client expectations, Curran says that this, too, needs to be understood in the context of globalisation. ‘Companies are seeking high-calibre business professionals who are technologically adept, globally aware, operationally fleet of foot and, from time to time, open to global relocation or, at least, to spending some time overseas.’