Category Archives: Company News

Are Search Firms Expensive?

-by Harris Karaolides, General Manager – InterSearch Dubai

A while back I had a meeting with the VP International of a small but dynamic European multinational company, very nice guy, one of his current projects was developing the Middle East market. This gentleman was desperately seeking a General Manager for their newly established Middle East branch in Dubai and was unsuccessfully trying to find the right person by posting classified advertisements about the role on job boards. I approached him to suggest we could perhaps help.

It doesn’t really matter if we won the assignment (which we did) or if he did hire the right General Manager (which he did) – what I want to point out is the following: When we met for the first time I had asked him why he was trying to make this hire, the most crucial for the company’s future in the region, by posting an ad and hoping the right person would a) see the ad, and b) bother to reply to it, instead of working with a search consultant who would make sure to approach and assess the top people on the market. His reply was: “The services of executive search firms like yours are very expensive and without a guaranteed outcome. My boss has been refusing to work with headhunters for years, since he got burned by a couple of them in France and in Eastern Europe.”

I have to say that the particular client came much easier than I expected after such a comment: I told him that our services are actually really cheap compared to the opportunity cost of a six-month lag in his business plan as a result of not finding the right person through ads. As for the “guaranteed outcome” I suggested he talks to some compatriots of his who are our clients for references, and gave him the names and contact details. He thanked me, left and a few days later he called me from the head office giving me the green light to start the search. “Do a good job”, he said, “or I’m screwed, my boss will have my head!”

A few days back this nice gentleman called me again. He wanted to ask me if InterSearch has an office in Hungary and if I can put him in contact with my colleagues in Budapest since he is establishing a subsidiary there and his boss “doesn’t want to waste time and money.”

Abu Dhabi InterSearch Grows

After establishing ourselves as the first Executive search firm on Al Maryah Island at Abu Dhabi Global Market, our Abu Dhabi team has grown. We are pleased to announce and welcome both Asel Shilikbayeva and Kumar Chulliparambil to the business.

Asel joins as Principal Consultant, overseeing the Oil & Gas / Energy sectors, and will have a regional focus. She comes with over 12 year’s relevant Oil & Gas experience, and has worked both in-house for large energy companies, as well as on the executive search side in the UK, and UAE. Asel is well networked, and will provide the InterSearch Abu Dhabi office the strength to deliver those ‘hard to fill’ senior roles for both nationals, and expats alike.

‘It is an exciting time for InterSearch Middle East, establishing its presence in Abu Dhabi, and I’m delighted to be part of a great team contributing to its success in the region,’ Asel mentioned.

Kumar has re-joined InterSearch Abu Dhabi as a Senior Research Associate, and comes with over 10 year’s relevant experience to date. We are fortunate to have Kumar onboard, as he was one of the pioneers of InterSearch Abu Dhabi when we previously had an office in the UAE’s capital. For the past 6 years, he has supported the Korn Ferry business, identifying high calibre candidates across an array of sectors locally, regionally and globally.

‘It’s definitely a thrilling time to be re-joining the InterSearch Abu Dhabi business. Being the only executive search firm with a permanent presence here really demonstrates our commitment to our clients and candidates. It’s great to be working for such a progressive organisation,’ said Kumar.

With Abu Dhabi going through somewhat of a transitional period, the landscape is continuously changing. Consolidation seems to be a buzz word in the market these days, however with all this change taking place, it also presents opportunity for those with unique skill sets, to offer value-add to organisations, on many levels. We look forward to continuing to align ourselves with both large and small companies, representing them for their executive search requirements. An exciting time for InterSearch Abu Dhabi.

To view their individual profiles in detail, cliek here:

Andrew Bailey
General Manager

Life Sciences: An Industry Striving to Meet Ever Changing Global Markets

-by Michael Coughlan

This article discusses the key factors that will continue to reshape the pharmaceutical and medtech marketplace, including the growing power of stakeholders like healthcare payers, providers and patients, and the strategies required to create a marketing and sales model that is fit for the 21st century.

These changes will ensure that products are marketed cost-effectively, create new opportunities and generate greater customer loyalty across the healthcare spectrum. Pricewaterhouse Cooper and Deloitte have released projections on trends to expect for the industry in the future.


Read the full article here:

InterSearch Middle East is first international executive search firm to be licensed by Abu Dhabi Global Market

InterSearch Middle East, one of the fastest growing executive search firms in the MEA region, has opened an office on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi – making it the first international executive search firm to be licensed by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

InterSearch, one of the original pioneers in the Middle East executive search industry, opened its first office in Dubai in 1998 and established a second office in Muscat in 2007.  The Abu Dhabi office at ADGM will be InterSearch’s third office in the GCC and will complement the existing business well.

Dhaher Bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of ADGM Registration Authority shared his congratulations with InterSearch.

“Our sincere congratulations to InterSearch Middle East on their successful opening as the first international executive search firm at Abu Dhabi Global Market. We are pleased to support InterSearch’s global aspirations, and we look forward to a strong collaboration and partnership.”

Samantha Robinson, Managing Director of InterSearch Middle East, believes in investing in the markets they service daily, and said that InterSearch’s Abu Dhabi office at ADGM is in an ideal location to provide better support to a variety of Government, Semi-Government & multi-national clients.

Central to our Middle East strategy is being near our clients and candidates, as this further strengthens our ability to collaboratively deliver high quality customer experiences.  Our Abu Dhabi office will be run by Andrew Bailey who has been appointed as General Manager to build a first-class InterSearch practice across the UAE’s capital.  Andrew brings a wealth of executive search experience to InterSearch, having built comparable search businesses that service a multitude of sectors and industries,” said Samantha.

Andrew Bailey, newly appointed General Manager of InterSearch Abu Dhabi, began his career as an accountant, working for large global FMCG firms in Sydney and London, however contracted the entrepreneurial bug and began building businesses for both large and small executive search practices in EMEA, Turkey and Asia Pacific.

This region continues to offer exciting opportunities for executives, and I’m delighted to join one of the region’s leading search firms to identify the best solutions for both clients and candidates. Aligning ourselves with organisations to assist with nationalisation hiring will also demonstrate not only where we add value to our clients, but also add value to the local talent pool” said Andrew.

InterSearch Middle East specialises in executive search within the sectors of Banking & Financial Services, Oil & Gas, Development & Infrastructure, Retail & FMCG, Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain, IT & Telecommunications, Professional Services, as well as Government and semi-Government organisations.

InterSearch Middle East is a key partner for our organization and our multinational clients investing in the MEA region. Thanks to their highly qualified and diversified team of researchers and consultants from all nationalities, InterSearch Middle East can afford an extremely rapid growth without compromising on quality and client orientation” stated Peter Waite, Chairman of InterSearch Worldwide.

With a truly global network, of over 90 offices in more than 50 countries, InterSearch and its team of highly skilled specialists deliver an uncompromised commitment to excellence through their strategic and cooperative approach.

For more information on InterSearch Middle East, visit


InterSearch Middle East has been recruiting into the Middle East for the last 20 years, having opened head office in Dubai in 1998. Since then, InterSearch has worked with clients in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq and UAE.  InterSearch Middle East is a specialised executive search firm that works across all major industry sectors – recruiting senior and mid-level executives, managers, specialists and professionals in many disciplines. Our current team offers more than seventy-five years of talent acquisition capability and HR knowledge.


InterSearch contact:
Andrew Bailey – General Manager, Abu Dhabi
InterSearch Middle East Limited

Media contact:

Andy Abey
Andy Abey Communications

Opportunities in the current uncertain market

-by John Robinson, Chairman – InterSearch Middle East

The current volatile and cyclical oil price has negatively affected the economic climate throughout the whole of the Middle East, especially in those GCC countries that have significant oil reserves. Capital expenditure has slowed or been delayed, budgets are being reduced and the revenue and subsidy structure of most states is being drastically reorganized.

On the face of it, perhaps not a good time to be expanding your business or acquiring other businesses; too risky. Well, in InterSearch Middle East we are doing just that and we are confident that our business expansion in this current climate is actually less risky now than waiting for a market upturn. We recently opened a new office in Abu Dhabi to complement our offices in Dubai and Muscat, and plans are well advanced for opening another office in Riyadh later this year.

Are we crazy? Maybe, but in our business plan we took account of the following:

  1. The initial capital expenditure and the built in fixed costs are reduced. Rents are lower, costs are lower and better deals can be made. Given that we are planning on, say, a 10 year horizon then we can build in cost advantages for that period.
  2. Top quality people are more available. As our competitors downsize or withdraw from the region we are able to attract and hire proven performers to join our expanding and confident business. We recently hired two top performing guys in Muscat and three in Abu Dhabi, all from our direct competitors.
  3. Our clients appreciate that we are sticking by them in difficult times and we are demonstrating our confidence in them and their market in the clearest possible way, with our cheque book.
  4. When the market upturn comes InterSearch will be in a much better position to fully take advantage of that, with a well established business already on the ground and a top performing team working closely with our clients.

Crazy? Maybe. Ask me in 5 years.

Perfectly Placed to Headhunt Right Talent In Oman

Thanks to our strong and proven credentials, we are on top of the minds of discerning clients headhunting for the right talent and becoming a preferred choice in the industry.

InterSearch Oman and Talent Development LLC in Oman

InterSearch Oman is part of InterSearch Worldwide, an international organization of retained executive search firms operating globally. It assists companies in identifying and recruiting senior executives, specialists and difficult to fill positions on their behalf.  We use specialized recruitment methodology to ensure placement of such candidates. Executive Search is the most effective approach when the number of suitable candidates is limited or when the position is of such importance that the best available is required and the client wants to search in Oman or across several countries and confidentially is of paramount importance.

InterSearch Worldwide currently has 100 offices in 53 countries including Oman. InterSearch Oman is a partner of Talent Development LLC and branch office of InterSearch Middle East FZ LLC based in the free zone in UAE.

We are one of the oldest search firms in the Middle East, conducting recruitment assignments across the region since 1991 and opening our first GCC office in 1998 in Dubai. We initially opened our Oman office in Muscat in 2007 and in partnership with Talent Development LLC in 2013.

Talent Development LLC also provides in its own contingent recruitment services on behalf of companies who require certain mid to senior level Omani and international professionals; whichcompliments Retained Search offered by InterSearch.

Key Practice Areas of InterSearch in Oman – strengths in these domains that set us apart from competition.

We are generalists but have particular recruitment expertise in the areas including Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Renewable Energy and Mining, Banking & Finance and Investment, Aviation, Engineering, Construction & Development, Diversified Family Companies and Conglomerates, manufacturing, Logistics and Distribution, Consumer Goods and IT & Telecommunications.

Our major strength is that we are the only international recruitment company based in Oman. We understand the local market as well as have a dedicated and diverse team of eight people on the ground who know the best Omani talent based locally as well as overseas. Given we pride ourselves on our local impact with global reach; we are able to help our client find the best candidates for Oman whether they are based regionally and internationally

The other major strength is that we can call upon our partner companies worldwide should we particularly want to target candidates in a particular country or sector. Our staff who are based locally have specific expertise in designated areas.

As a result, we have become the preferred choice in the industry in Oman.  As we have worked with many leading names in the market including the multi nationals as well as the Omani companies (listed, privately held as well as public sector entities) with a high degree of success and client satisfaction, we get quite a decent share of our business through referrals. Thanks to our strong and proven credentials, we are on top of the minds of the discerning clients with increased frequency.

Key issues in recruitment industry in Oman

The key issues are mainly in companies which are not used to using retained executive search companies as they do not fully appreciate the amount of time required to fulfill a search. We therefore have to convince such companies on the benefits of using executive search technique as well as the loss of opportunities of not having that high caliber staff in the vacant or newly created position.

The recent reduction in oil price has affected many companies. They are reluctant to recruit new staff or replace existing ones for higher caliber expertise because of the cost constraints in their organization although they require that expertise to enable them to optimize their costs or expand into new business streams.

Changing recruitment landscape in Oman – how to adapt to changing dynamics

The market has shrunk and the competition has become stiffer, however,  we have succeeded in establishing a high reputation of providing professional and effective services for our clients. More and more companies are becoming aware of the difference between Retained Executive Search and Contingent Recruitment.

Future of recruiting with the emergence of digital ecosystem

There are various methods of recruiting staff and the emergence of digital systems has helped in a way in identifying potential candidates but that alone is not sufficient. Clients require more information on candidates than what is on the internet on various social networking tools.

The kind of CEO’s in demand in Oman

During the boom phase, there was comparatively less action in terms of changes at the top.  Many CEOs continued to be in the pole position for years; even decades in some cases and the boards didn’t feel the need for a change.  But the drop in oil prices has changed the scenario. The boards are re-strategizing and seeking a change in the direction. They are looking for candidates who could relate to their new vision, and have the experience and skills to bring that change.  Now apart from the mandatory leadership and operational skills, senior executives with excellent relationships with banks and investment firms, having good understanding of raising finance in a cost-effective manner, more commercial orientation and of course, having the ability and proven credentials to motivate the team to perform under adverse circumstances and align with the business transformation journey, are most sought after.             Many a times, we see the second-in-command with a strong profile on the above lines and the aspiration to move up the ladder as the preferred choice for the top position.

Omanisation – harness the youth power for productive purposes and sustainable growth                

Omanisation is about competence development and we have to start from the school stage to ensure we get youngsters with perfect blend of talent and attitude who could be trained for specific skills when they grow up. In my professional experience of over four decades across companies and functions,  I have seen that whenever we have provided proper training and mentored in the right manner, talent has flourished.  The oil & gas sector and to certain extent, Banking, Finance and Investment (BFI) sectors have excelled on this front. But other sectors, in general, have not done enough on this front.  Take construction sector for example. Invariable we see Omanis working in functions, say admin, HR or finance only. . Very few Omanis are in the frontline. There are few isolated success stories there but the sector on the whole has not invested enough in training and mentoring the talent. This is the story of the sector which contributes maximum to the employment market in terms of number of jobs. We need to sacrifice a part of our bottom line to build the talent in a systematic manner.

Advice to the youngsters who are seeking employment opportunities

See, it is a challenging time from the economy’s perspective. We all need to be reasonable in our expectations. Sam applies to the youngsters who are seeking specific employment opportunities. If they can’t find a job which meets their expectations or in sync with their qualifications, they need to be more flexible. No point in waiting endlessly for that dream job to come your way. There have been many examples where people have moved from one stream to another if they are unable to get the desired breakthroughs or their destiny has taken them to a different path. Take my caser as an example,  I’m a Mathematician by qualification but I moved on to IT and HR quite early in my professional journey.

The government is making efforts to diversify the economy which is going to lead towards creation of jobs in new areas. “Tanfeedh” is a commendable Omani government initiative which is driving focus on select key industries such as Manufacturing, Tourism and Logistics and the youngsters could channelize their energies to take advantage of opportunities that are going to arise in these high growth industries.

Harris Karaolides Appointed As General Manager – Dubai

After almost 20 years with the group, Harris Karaolides is a worldwide veteran of InterSearch.

Since his appointment as General Manager, Dubai in July 2016, Harris has been focused on continuing to grow the high-performing executive search team of 12 people in Dubai and manage the performance of the regional research team to ensure 100% delivery across all global, region and local assignments. He played a critical role in leading InterSearch’s Dubai office to +25% year-on-year growth in 2016.

Harris relocated to the Middle East three and a half years ago and has been instrumental in building a strong client base across the Middle East & North Africa region, as well as entering new markets such as Iran and Nigeria.  Harris’ sector specializations include Consumer Goods, Pharma & Life Sciences, Manufacturing and Engineering Products & Services.

Highly regarded within InterSearch Worldwide and honored with InterSearch’s Global Excellence award, Harris is famous for his honest and straightforward consultative style. The ultimate realist, hard-to-fill roles are his sweet spot and he effortlessly convinces senior talent to consider career opportunities in hardship locations.  His repeat business ratios are impressive, as is his determination and ability to shortlist the best candidates in the market in record time.

Initially joining the Athens office in 1998, Harris quickly became the Managing Partner of InterSearch Greece where he executed multiple assignments across Greece and Central-Eastern Europe for a variety of local and multinational corporations. While leading the Athens office, Harris was also the Global Media Relations Manager for InterSearch and played a significant role in increasing visibility and awareness for the Global organization.

He holds a Master’s Degree from Syracuse University’s prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in New York and has previously worked in sales, marketing and operations for reputable corporations in Athens, Greece and New York City, USA.

We wish Harris all the very best in his new role and may he continue to grow the InterSearch Middle East regional headquarters in Dubai, with great success across multiple geographies in the MEA region.


New InterSearch Member – Schelstraete Delacourt Associates in Amsterdam

InterSearch Worldwide, a leading global executive search organization operating in more than 50 countries, is proud to announce the launch of its new office member and Dutch HQs of Schelstraete Delacourt Associates in Amsterdam.

Schelstraete Delacourt Associates, partner of IWW in Belgium since 2001, recently acquired InterSearch Netherlands and is now one of the leading players in Executive Search, Director Search and Management Assessment in the Benelux countries.

The Dutch office is led by Merijn van Oijen. 10+ year local and international expertise in Executive search, Merijn’s deep expertise in Private equity firm, Industrial and Technology sector is complemented by a team of consultants and researchers also focusing on FMCG/Consumer, Life Sciences, Construction, Automotive industry.

“As an integral part of the Dutch national rowing team from 1994 to 2001 and a coxswain, Merijn competed at the Sydney Olympics and is a former world record holder: we are confident he’ll achieve the same results as our Associate partner in the Netherlands”

commented Frank Schelstraete, co-founder and manging partner at S-D Associates.

“We are delighted to see the revitalized operations in the Netherlands – they are a strong asset for the whole InterSearch organization as well as for all multinational clients based in the Netherlands, who have access to a consolidated organization of Executive search firms operating in over 50 countries worldwide”

added Peter Waite, global Chairman InterSearch Worldwide.

InterSearch New Member Firm ranked among the top Executive Search firms in the United States

InterSearch Worldwide, a leading global executive search organization operating in more than 50 countries, is proud to announce its new member firm in the USA,Charles Aris, Inc. has been ranked among the top 11 executive search firms in their country by Forbes Magazine. The Charles Aris team was also recognized for receiving a “disproportionately high number of client recommendations.”

Read more here:

Introduction of New Practice Group – Diversity&Inclusion


We are pleased to introduce the new Diversity & Inclusion Practice Group led by Pamela Colquhoun from Four Corners Group-InterSearch Canada.

This practice group will focus on our experience in assisting clients with unique and complex executive search needs related to: ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education and religion.

If you have questions, please write to:

Pamela Colquhoun
Practice Group leader

Peter Waite
IWW Chairman