An expert in chief executive officer succession planning, Brenda Malloy is now experiencing it herself — she is being promoted to CEO of Herbert Mines Associates, the executive search firm. Malloy, who has served as president, officially steps into the CEO role on Jan. 1.
Malloy will be the third CEO in the firm’s 44-year history. Malloy replaces Hal Reiter, who will continue to serve as chairman.
“In her new role, Ms. Malloy will be responsible for the strategic growth of the largest independent retained executive search firm exclusively dedicated to retail and consumer-facing businesses,” the company said in a statement, which also noted that Herbert Mines Associates specializes in C-suite, executive and board placements “for many of the world’s most prestigious publicly traded companies and private equity firms.”
Of the 22 retail executives from Fortune 1000 companies recently appointed to new positions, Herbert Mines have placed five of them.
Malloy has been with the company since 2013, and the firm said she has been instrumental in “driving exponential financial growth by increasing the penetration of C-suite and board placements.” The firm said that throughout her tenure, Malloy has been responsible “for identifying some of the most successful CEOs at both publicly held and private equity-backed companies, including Ulta Beauty Inc.; Burlington Stores Inc.; Five Below; Sprouts Farmers Market; Kohl’s Corp.; Chico’s FAS Inc., and Banana Republic, among others.”
Malloy has also made it a priority to increase inclusivity and corporate diversity. The company said 87 percent of its board placements and 52 percent of its executive placements had been women or people of color.
In a statement, Malloy said the firm’s clients value transformative leaders “who know how to evolve a business, or a brand strategically, and I intend to lead Herbert Mines Associates into its next chapter by serving as a trusted, strategic adviser to both clients and candidates. It’s our responsibility to position our clients for success by staying ahead of emerging trends and understanding their impact on talent, roles, and organizational structures.”
In an interview with WWD, Malloy cited the success of the firm to its values, which include “loving what you do and owning what you do,” she said. “We love the craft; we love the puzzle. We love working with clients. We love meeting interesting candidates. It’s fun work. It’s hard work.”
Other factors include a high level of collaboration and prioritizing the client. “And do the right thing,” Malloy said. “It is critical that we do right by our clients and our people. You also must be radically transparent and authentic. We’re also resilient and positive, but we’re always looking to be better. And then most importantly, give clients and candidates a ‘wow’ experience.”
When asked about the future of retail leadership, Malloy served some questions that executives need to be asking. “For someone who is customer obsessed, you ask ‘What is our [company’s] unique value proposition? And I’m not just telling myself what it is and believing it. It’s what really is it? Why are customers going to shop my brand, my store? What am I doing to ensure that I am ‘wowing’ customers, that I’m delivering what they want, how they want it, when they want it, in the way they want it?”
Malloy said the industry has rapidly evolved, and the work of C-level executives is getting harder. This is why having the right team in place is key. “But how are you motivating and inspiring those people?” she said. “How do you understand what your team wants? You also need to keep the culture going, the creativity, the mentoring, the sponsorship, the spontaneity — especially with hybrid work environments.”