Sevada Baghdyan: American Boyden executive search company enters Armenian and Georgian markets

14.04.2023 | 07:11 Home / News / Interviews /
One of the leading executive search firms in the world, American Boyden company, enters Armenian and Georgian markets. Sevada Baghdyan, who founded Relevant executive search company 3 years ago, became the Boyden partner and head of Armenian and Georgian offices.

- First of all, congratulations on becoming the partner of Boyden in Armenia and Georgia. Before talking about it, please sum up the 3 years of operation of Relevant – an executive search company you founded.

- Thank you. These 3 years were quite saturated for us. We had interesting projects, collaborated with many leading companies helping them to find CEOs who would address the challenges faced by the companies. I can say that year by year, an increased number of companies turn to executive search service to fill up key managerial positions. It’s highly rewarding to see a client’s business grow and thrive with the contribution of the professional that we have provided to this process.

Over the 3 years, 70 percent of our clients turned to us twice or more for the service. I consider this a high satisfaction indicator as executive search service is not used by businesses daily. A company may not need the service for a couple of years in a row as top management positions seldom become vacant. Besides, the companies first of all fill up the vacancies through internal resources or find a candidate from the labor market by themselves. Therefore, I am sure that the other 30 percent will still have a need to apply to us again.

- Will you specify which sectors and which companies you cooperated with?

- We do not have a sectoral limitation. We have sound experience of cooperating with a range of sectors: finance, banking, manufacturing, retail, services, pharmaceutical, IT, mining and HoReCa.

Most of the companies we collaborated with were medium or large businesses: I cannot think of a company which would not be among the top 1000 taxpayers. Some of our clients are presented on Relevant’s website. There are companies which chose to keep our cooperation confidential. For instance, there are cases when there is a need to change current top managers and we organize the process confidentially.

- Let us come back to today’s question. Please tell us about Boyden.

- Boyden is one of the leading executive search companies in the world. The company was founded in the US in 1947 and currently operates in over fifty countries in the world. Boyden is said to be the first company to engage in executive search on a professional level. The methodology and ethical norms that are currently used by other top companies in the field are said to have been created by Boyden.

Sevada Baghdyan

Boyden is founding company of the AESC (Global Association of Executive Search Consultants). Forbes publishes the list of leading executive search companies every year and Boyden is almost always among the top ten. The company has a tendency to cooperate with economically developed countries. Unfortunately, such companies don’t show high interest in countries which have not impressively big economies. I’m excited that the lengthy negotiations led to our cooperation and the offices of this top executive search company will be open in Armenia and Georgia.

The head office of the company is located in New York, but our regional office is based in Kazakhstan.

- And how will Boyden’s partnership be combined with Relevant’s operation?

The cooperation is based on a partnership model which is more common among global audit and law firms.

I have become Boyden’s partner in Armenia and Georgia and Relevant’s team will continue serve our clients already under Boyden brand. We will be the Boyden Armenia Office for clients and professionals. We are currently increasing our staff as we have more projects. We will also have new services which will again be linked to executive positions.

I think in the second half of the year we will open our Georgian office; before that, we will be implementing our Georgian projects in the Armenian office.

- Please tell us what’s the reason that having a productive operating executive search company in Armenia you did not expand to other countries with new offices and instead decided to become a representative of an international company?

- Thanks for the question. I have thought about it for almost a year. My previous experience as a co-founder hinted to me we should stretch out and enter new markets using innovation.

However, executive search has its peculiarities to be considered. Of course, innovation does occur in the field, but the gained experience is key. Our function is not only to find executives – this is not so hard in the digital era. Our goal is to find executives which are compatible with the company’s long-term strategies and who would work with them effectively. The solution to this problem has multiple layers and fundamental questions concerning both the business and top managers.

This experience cannot be compensated only through studying and reading books – this is acquired over the years. I made a choice of getting direct access to this experience promptly by joining Boyden.

- And how will Armenian and Georgian businesses and local CEOs benefit from this cooperation?

- Both in Armenia and Georgia corporate governance has a history of only 30 years and is in the process of growth and development. It is a path already passed by many countries and businesses in the world and Boyden consultants and partners supported them with advice and top managers they had found. Now this accumulated experience will enter the region through the door of our office and our client’s businesses will benefit from it.

Besides, through cooperation with various Boyden offices we can help Armenian and Georgian businesses to find top managers with international experience or open a branch in other countries and recruit executive staff.

Just the same way local executives may find a job abroad if our partners have any need of a relevant candidate there.
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