Wanted: Business development execs in demand as firms revamp role

Business development officer is the new hot job in the PR agency world as firms reevaluate what they want from the position.

PR Week | December 9, 2016

The PR Week article, “Wanted: Business development execs in demand as firms revamp role,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Seema Kathuria about the uptick in filling business development roles. The article is excerpted below.

Several agencies are revamping their business-development functions to pull away from the pack and differentiate their services and expertise from competitors.

Some, such as Burson-Marsteller and FleishmanHillard, have recently reorganized their bizdev functions, and others have turned to executive search firms to recruit talent.

Seema Kathuria, a consultant in the corporate affairs practice at Russell Reynolds Associates, says she is noticing an uptick in firms looking to fill both newly created and expanded business development roles.

"I’ve seen [an increase] in how agencies have engaged Russell Reynolds looking for talent that can increase their ability to be more competitive and differentiate themselves," Kathuria says, estimating that bizdev roles make up about 15% of her assignments. "They’re looking for talent that comes with the ability to build market credibility and increase the ability to get to high-level relationships, and individuals who have strong influencing skills."


Kathuria is noticing that when agencies recruit externally for business development roles, they are more often farming talent without a "true traditional agency background." They are likely considering candidates for either their industry expertise or advice on how to approach certain claims, she posits. Similarly, Fernandez says she was hired for her combination of corporate and agency experience, which cut down on training time.

"These individuals had more of a focus on creating growth and vision within the business," Kathuria adds. "They have great experience in how to build and run an operation, but the tradeoff may be that they may not know how to convert that into the business development or market-making side. When I see that, you have to look inside the organization and see if they have a strong partner to help them understand the nuances and processes."

To read the full article, click here.

Sign up for our newsletter

Get the newsletter that prepares you for what's next with valuable insights across industries and geographies.
Wanted: Business development execs in demand as firms revamp role