Australian recruitment firm with $12.7 million turnover snapped up by US giant

An Australian executive search firm with turnover of around $12.7 million a year has been acquired in full by New York-based business CTPartners Executive Search.

Recruitment firm Johnson was established in 2005 to provide executive search and leadership services across Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. The deal with CTPartners will see Johnson receive an upfront payment of $2.4 million, with the undisclosed balance paid over six or seven incentivised instalments over three years, based on revenue growth. 

The Johnson business in Australia will be renamed CTPartners Johnson for around one year, then the Johnson name will be phased out.

Johnson founder and managing partner Jason Johnson told SmartCompany the move will enable the business to support the international executive search ambitions of its clients, and help it accelerate towards being a $20 million business.

He says CTPartners first approached Johnson three years ago, but the timing was “too premature as we had latent potential to develop”.

“We were able to grow our revenue in those three years, and in October they re-engaged and we did a deal over December/January and we signed on Friday,” he says.

Johnson will become an employee of CTPartners, but remain as the managing partner of the Asia-Pacific region.

He says it “feels like a promotion” as the role will have “even more interesting dimensions”.

Johnson says his business had around 30 staff across five offices, including Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. He will continue to manage those offices, with the addition of Mumbai and the potential for a Beijing office soon.

CTPartners is a New York Stock Exchange-listed business with origins dating back 34 years. It is headquartered in New York and has 27 offices in 17 countries. It manages executive services in the financial, sciences, industry, retail, consumer, technology and telecommunication sectors.

CTPartners chief executive Brian Sullivan said the acquisition of Johnson is an “important strategic step as it provides a strong entry into the Australian market while accelerating the growth of our operations in the broader APAC region”.

Johnson says the global executive search industry is expected to generate revenues in excess of $11 billion in 2014.


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