Carol SingletonSlade Practice Group Leader, Houston
Energy and Clean Tech
Few envisioned the profound changes now unfolding in Energy. The industry’s startlingly successful efforts to open new reserves, particularly in North America onshore, have combined with sustained economic weakness in Europe, slower growth in countries such as China, Brazil and India, and steadily advancing efficiencies in energy consumption to create an era of global oversupply. How long will this era last? The best guesses are one to two years-plus, long enough to drive significant change. Already many oil and gas companies are cutting back, a process that started before the price crash in an attempt to deal with spiraling costs. Budgets have been trimmed across all types of development, from deep water to onshore unconventional. There will be further casualties, especially as hedging arrangements mature. Energy services companies have had to scale back drastically as capital budgets decrease. The inevitable result will be consolidation, already evident in both services and operators.
To adapt to this unprecedented environment, Energy will need a new breed of leaders who demonstrate uncommon ingenuity and extraordinary strategic insight.
In Oil and Gas, demographics compound the talent challenges. Large numbers of baby boomers are nearing retirement and the next generation is thin in this sector after decades of streamlining. Many are taking this downturn as a trigger for retirement, a choice they may have otherwise deferred. Further, leadership successors in Oil and Gas must be more diversely competent than those in place today. Future leaders will have to deliver superior operating results, often with severely constrained resources, while building whole new forms of organizational capability, especially in light of increased industry consolidation and M&A activity.
Energy Private Equity investors are split with a number of funds facing significant challenges in their own portfolio companies while others with dry powder and funds newly raised see opportunity to pick up distressed assets.
Utilities, consolidating in many markets and anticipating renewed long term cost pressures, face increasingly complex talent decisions as they strive to improve operational efficiency and sustain healthy margins through shifts in the regulatory and resource landscapes. Many factors will increase the complexity of Utilities management, including new technologies for distributed energy, a more decentralized infrastructure/energy grid, the move to renewables, and development of smart grids to manage energy distribution. As such, Utilities must think far ahead, proactively developing technical talent and more diverse leadership competencies.
The CleanTech sector continues to consolidate as it strives to sustain momentum in an era of low energy prices, intensifying demand for technically skilled but broadly talented managers with experience leading large organizations. CleanTech urgently needs executives and managers who can transfer their proven competencies managing global operations, supply chain, production, and quality to these new businesses. From a sales and marketing perspective, regional markets are becoming more prominent, and this magnifies the need for CleanTech to recruit high tech leaders who have demonstrated ability to be agile and grow companies, as well as senior sales leaders with intercultural skills.
Following Deep Water Horizon and the Japan nuclear crisis, Energy overall must expect heightened public and shareholder concerns and increased government regulation. The new breed of successful Energy leader will work effectively with multiple constituencies, perform well under public as well as internal pressures, and rally organizations to make Energy operations more safe and sustainable, as well as more efficient and profitable.
Comprehensive Talent Development
Egon Zehnder brings comprehensive talent development capabilities to Energy, CleanTech and Utilities, including:
- CEO Search & Succession
- Board Consulting
- Executive Search
- Leadership Appraisal and Development
- Team Effectiveness Reviews
- Family Business Advisory
We are true industry experts. Before entering executive search, all of our consultants made their mark as industrial executives. Our consultants are “insiders” who maintain strong networks and stay closely attuned to Energy trends. We speak your language, move confidently through your world, and are in close touch with top executives, technical experts, and potential directors worldwide. We excel at CEO and Board succession planning, offer unmatched appraisal capabilities, and help senior executives, top leadership teams, and Boards to measurably increase their effectiveness and successfully assimilate new talent.
As important, we are prepared to constructively challenge your thinking and help you move toward a more creative and expansive talent development strategy. For example, we can help you assess your leaders’ and candidates’ competencies not only against others in Energy, but against relevant benchmarks in other industries, using our database of thousands of management appraisals conducted across 69 Egon Zehnder offices worldwide.
Our unique organizational structure puts clients first. Egon Zehnder operates as a single global profit center, fostering an unusually collaborative culture. Our Energy, CleanTech and Utilities experts work seamlessly with colleagues around the world to access the best available talent, regardless of a candidate’s nationality or the geography of a position.
Egon Zehnder provides you distinctly personal service while mobilizing the global resources, knowledge, and relationships that deliver extraordinary value.