COMPANY - Brief History & Current Situation

Bill Ferguson started the company in 1990 at the cross section of executive recruiting and real estate. As the firm’s market success grew, Real Estate executives looked to Ferguson for additional advisory services and product lines were added, including executive compensation, leadership consulting, and human capital consulting

Today, Ferguson is recognized as one of the highest quality Human Capital Advisory firms within the real assets sector (e.g. real estate, infrastructure, etc).  Their boutique approach resonates with a client base that values credibility, expertise, and practical, defined outcomes.

Bill Ferguson recently moved full-time into the Chairman’s role and named Gemma Burgess as CEO.  Under this new structure, Gemma is adjusting the platform to allow for more aggressive growth in the coming years.  Jennifer Kastenholz recently joined Ferguson as COO to ensure the people and infrastructure demands are met in this growth phase.  Organizational changes are underway to scale Ferguson Partners products and services for growth; these changes include consolidating the public and private compensation teams and bringing together consulting and advisory disciplines under one leader.  New offerings and locations are currently being considered to further expand Ferguson’s reach and support the ambition to be the leading talent management and strategic advisory firm for the global real assets industries

Overall, the company has an exceptional reputation, has an extensive and captive client base, and year-over-year strong financial performance.  A great history combined with an exciting new direction makes for a compelling story at Ferguson.

PRACTICE AREAS - What does Ferguson do? How integrated are the practice areas?

Ferguson has three market facing groups – Executive Search, Executive Compensation & Human Capital Consulting.  All groups operate at the senior leadership or Board levels of large-scale real asset firms.  Supporting these groups is an internal survey team which is capturing time sensitive data and insights that help drive project successes.

There is a need to transition the firm from many books of business to a unified corporation.  Uniting the Leadership and Management Consulting practices into a single Human Capital Consulting team is a major strategic priority, which has created the need for hiring a leader to integrate and expand the firm’s offerings.

The teams fully believe that going to market with a ‘One-Team’ approach is the way to win. The leadership team is fully committed to achieving success by delivering a holistic service offering and believes that integration of products and services is a critical avenue for generating significant growth.


Ferguson is headquartered in Chicago with a major presence in New York.  Other global locations include: Charlotte, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and Toronto


While “culture” can be challenging to describe for any environment, below are the attributes that best define Ferguson’s people and style:

  • Driven
  • Humble
  • Amiable
  • World-class customer experience
  • Self-improving
  • Servant Leadership
  • Innovative
  • Hands-on / Grit

Gemma seems authentic when she describes herself as transparent and an open communicator.  She is friendly, engaging and genuinely appears interested in helping others achieve success.

Gemma tends to accept people at their word.  If someone replies that they are doing fine, Gemma assumes the individual is being sincere.  Straightforward communication seems to work best with her.

Gemma prefers “executive summary” vs. the extended narrative.  That is not to suggest that she is unable to dig deep or have long, meaningful exchanges.  It simply points to her being efficient and succinct when the situation calls for it.


Market share in advising REIT Boards on Executive and Board-related pay matters




Global Locations


Projects Completed per year for all Practice Areas

The Role

Lead, Develop & Grow a Consulting Function

  • Leverage Existing Client base.
  • Build on 30+ year old success track record.
  • Create and package solutions offerings.
  • Directly share in the success of your efforts.
  • Immediately start efforts with Board-approved investment.
  • No political or bureaucratic structure – little friction in growing the practice.
  • Not a “build-from scratch” opportunity.  Assets and reputation already in place.
  • No micro-managing from C-suite or Board.  Ability to build world-class offerings and delivery.


Ferguson is looking to add a Leader who will develop, lead and integrate the Consulting practice for North America.  This role can be based in Chicago or NYC.  The role does require travel for purposes of building client relationships as well as promoting the firm’s consulting capabilities.  Travel may average around 30% though obviously there will be ebbs and flows on travel depending on a number of business factors.

Some high-level responsibilities include:

Lead the development and execution of Ferguson Partner’s consulting strategy

  • Develop integrated go-to-market strategy between Search & Consulting
  • Understand opportunities in international markets and collaborate with international team to support expansion of services
  • Prioritize consulting offerings and investments based on market demand

Develop consulting capabilities and service offerings

  • Develop/acquire minimal viable products (MVP) solutions for new products
  • Develop and implement staffing plan based on strategy
  • Develop integrated go to market approach and marketing materials

Deliver integrated consulting services to clients

  • Participate in sales presentations and drive consulting revenue
  • Provide thought leadership for white papers, industry conferences, and market facing activities showcasing Ferguson’s expertise
  • Become a trusted and sought-after advisor to clients in the real assets industry

Build a consulting team

  • Attract key talent to Ferguson Partners
  • Establish consulting team organization structure and staffing processes

Of course, the above only represents a few of the current and pressing issues.  The leader should be prepared to assume a broader set of responsibilities that are typically associated with the role (e.g. developing dashboards and metrics to drive execution of projects, driving performance initiatives that have an impact across the platform, etc.).  



    Our ideal executive has successfully demonstrated success in achieving the above.  We believe the top candidates have compelling backgrounds in addressing the following questions – 1) Can you demonstrate the rare combination of building/delivering world-class solutions within an entrepreneurial environment 2) Are you matter-of-factly an effective leader who possesses the highest level of integrity, communication skills and humility and 3) do you possess the drive, creativity and vision to take Ferguson Partners to the next level.  The executive who aligns well against these questions will have an opportunity to significantly shape, grow and lead Ferguson’s Consulting practice into their next stage of the growth.


    Ferguson Partners is an equal opportunity employer that celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

    Sample Engagements


    The Team

    Gemma Burgess - HIRING EXECUTIVE

    Gemma Burgess - HIRING EXECUTIVE


    More details on Gemma

    Gemma Burgess has over 15 years of executive and non-executive search experience and leads Ferguson Partners’ search business globally, based in the firm’s New York office. She spends the majority of her time working with Private Equity, Investment Management, Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), Structured Finance, Hedge Fund and Investment Banking clients. In addition, Gemma is actively involved in Ferguson Partners’ Board practice.

    A huge advocate for diversity across the industry, Gemma has consistently placed gender-diverse candidates at a rate of 50 percent – no easy task within an industry that was slow to take on the initiative! A regular speaker and writer on the topic, she is now turning her attentions to the ethnic diversity challenge.

    Relocated from the London office more than six years ago, Gemma possesses a deep understanding of the international markets and the global flow of both institutional and non-institutional capital in the real estate industry. Prior to joining Ferguson Partners in 2007, Gemma spent two years at Hanson Green working on non-executive appointments and two years at Ramsey Hall working as a generalist within executive search. When she’s not working with clients, Gemma enjoys traveling and watching her son play soccer.

    Jennifer Kastenholz

    Jennifer Kastenholz


    More details on Jen

    As COO, Jen is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the global firm, leading operations, finance, accounting, legal, IT, marketing, human resources, and research and data analytics.

    Problem solving, analytics, and relationship management are the common thread between Jennifer’s past roles and her current position. Jen has a background in management consulting from Deloitte, where she delivered strategy and operations engagements to clients in the financial services industry. She has held prior roles in corporate strategy and in leading large service operations. Most recently, she was a Vice President of Client Services at Gallagher Bassett.

    Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is active in Chicago’s arts community, serving on the Board of Directors of Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) and fully embracing GDC’s mission to enrich lives through dance.

    Bill Ferguson

    Bill Ferguson


    More details on Bill

    William J. Ferguson serves as Chairman and CEO of Ferguson Partners.   Before founding Ferguson Partners, Mr. Ferguson was a Managing Director with one of the leading international executive recruiting consultants. There, he co-managed the firm’s national real estate practice. Prior to focusing on real estate, Mr. Ferguson worked for General Mills, Inc. in Minneapolis in strategic marketing.

    Mr. Ferguson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an MBA in marketing from the Wharton Graduate School of Business.

    Interview Process


    Discuss opportunity with Olympia


    Olympia screen, salary review, …


    COO – Resume review, 1st Interview


    CEO & LOB Leader Interviews


    Ex-Com Panel & Board Meetings


    Final Interviews & Hogan Assessment

    What you can expect from Oympia:

    1. Directness – We will provide candid feedback on your background, skills, and alignment of objectives against the opportunity.
    2. Professionalism – We will keep to any commitments we make to you. Let’s hold each other to the highest standard of professionalism.
    3. Honesty – We will share whatever information we can regarding your candidacy.


    Dan Gathof dgathof@olympiasolutionsinc.com

    Schedule time to talk

    Let’s explore if this role fits your career goals.