The Hennessy Group Celebrates Landmark 20 Years in the Life Sciences Industry


Jun 1, 2019 --  Boutique executive search consultants, The Hennessy Group, recently celebrated the start of its 20th year of service in the life sciences industry.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” says founder and CEO Robert D. Hennessy. “When I started this company in 1999, I could only dream about this kind of longevity. I had no idea if we’d be able to make it a reality. We’ve come a long way since the Senior VP of HR at Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Head of Talent Acquisition at SmithKline Beecham convinced me to leave my leadership role at one of the fastest growing global search firms and start my own business to help them staff their team.”

Hennessy indicates that even as the industry has changed, not a lot has been modified in the way his company operates. While the company has enhanced its tech tools to simplify the process for candidates, his team still takes the traditional route of getting to know all candidates personally before deciding if they’re ready to be forwarded to a client.

“‘Relationship building’ doesn’t sound very glamorous, especially in an economy that’s so transaction oriented and where everything has to move at lightning speed, including hiring, but that’s what we do. And it means we’re on the phone. A lot. This includes many hours of video conferencing with candidates who pass our phone screens. It’s the only way we can assess the accuracy of a candidate’s fit -- by getting to know our candidates on a personal level. If you just want a stack of names and contact info, any recruiter can get that for you. If you want a shortlist of candidates who will help your company exceed its goals, you call us.”

The boutique executive search firm, which focuses solely on executive recruiting for pharmaceuticals, CDMO, biologics, orphan drugs, specialty pharma, and other life sciences companies, credits its long-term and high success to this pairing of old-school techniques and leading-edge technology. “Our rate of success is verifiable -- 94 percent. If you’ve used retained search before, you know how rare this is. We keep our success rate high by helping our clients know, with a great degree of certainty, how a candidate will grow their business and culture, what the candidate’s leadership strengths and weaknesses are, where they’ve failed or succeeded in the past. All of this information comes out before there’s ever an onsite meeting or even a discussion between candidate and hiring company. Our clients know who and what they’re getting before they even schedule a meeting.”

While Hennessy’s goal has been to keep the size of his recruiting team small in order to give each candidate and clients one-on-one service, the team’s attention to candidate detail has led to the placement of nearly 600 leadership roles. On average, each year one of those placements has also advanced to president or CEO. In 2018 and 2019, the company was deemed a top executive recruiting firm by Forbes.

“You remember people and their stories when you build a relationship, which also helps you recommend placements for all the right reasons. That’s the boutique approach, and it helps us move quickly while still being thorough,” Hennessy says. “When you have a recruiter who’s conducting a deep-dive assessment of a candidate, you’re no longer just putting a body in the role. You’re determining up front the real risks of the potential placement. And if you’re the company who’s hiring your next CEO, this process … it makes you confident that you’ve found the right leader.”

About The Hennessy Group

Founded in 1999, The Hennessy Group is a U.S.-based boutique executive search firm dedicated to connecting life sciences companies to their next great leaders. Over the past 20 years, The Hennessy Group has developed industry-wide connections with professionals and companies in pharmaceuticals, life sciences startups, specialty pharma, orphan drugs, and more. This dedication to a single segment of the healthcare industry helps The Hennessy Group achieve and maintain its nearly 100% placement success rate. The company has offices in Philadelphia, PA and Salt Lake City, UT, and entered a partnership with Norland Associates, Ltd., in 2018 to expand into the East Asian market.

Learn more at

Category: News | Press Releases

Stay Informed

Learn how to find and retain the top talent in life sciences from the leader in executive search. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.
Subscribe Now