Blaine L. Nelson says "the executive-search firm business is becoming more robust."

Business

Blaine Nelson’s New Executive-Search Firm Jumps Into the ‘Enormous War For Talent’

Boutique founded by former Deloitte managing principal is focusing on the energy, healthcare, and technology fields.

When Blaine L. Nelson chaired the board of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, he was a key figure in recruiting the much-acclaimed music director Jaap Van Zweden to the organization. Now Nelson, a one-time managing principal in the Dallas office of professional services giant Deloitte, is aiming to replicate that kind of hiring success with a new senior-level, executive-search firm called BLNelson Group LLC.

Nelson’s Dallas-based boutique company consists of a loose “alliance” of search experts with specialties in energy, healthcare, and technology, including Howard Hodges, a former Texas Instruments global sales manager. Another member of the alliance, Nelson says, is a Houston-based research person with proprietary software and access to multiple, extensive databases of C-suite job candidates.

“After spending 40 years in professional services, I have a great network of relationships,” says Nelson, who will specialize in recruiting oil-and-gas as well as professional-services executives. At the same time, he adds, the “executive-search firm business is becoming more robust—and there’s an enormous war for talent.”

According to market research company Hunt Scanlon Media, which tracks the executive-search industry, the senior-level recruiting industry grew by 10 percent in the Americas region in 2016, with the top 50 firms generating $3.1 billion in revenue. North Texas-based firms on the Hunt Scanlon list were Kaye/Bassman-Sanford Rose (No. 10, with $44.2 million in revenue) and Chartwell Partners (No. 29, with $11 million).

These days, though, experts say boutique firms like Nelson’s are responsible for most of the high-level executive-search business. And that’s just what the former Deloitte exec is banking on as he enters this next phase of his career … looking for a lot more Jaaps.

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