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John T. Gardner

Vice-chairman, Heidrick & Struggles

Company Info: Heidrick & Struggles

Web site:

Address: 233 S. Wacker Dr., Suite 7000, Chicago, Ill. 60606

Phone: 312-496-1346


Advice: Gain an early breadth of experience, and then focus on what you do well and what you are passionate about.

Qualities sought in emerging leaders: As my search work is focused on CEO and board assignments, I look for the unique combination of intelligence, experience, vision, leadership, toughness, drive, compassion, and integrity required to succeed at the highest level of business.

Sector specialization: Industrial, consumer

Job function specialization: CEOs, board directors

Geographical Focus: Global

Companies I often recruit for: BHP Billiton; Owens-Illinois; Allied Waste; Phelps Dodge; Walter Industries

Favorite historical figure: General George Patton

Education: Georgia Institute of Technology, BS 1965, Harvard Business School,

MBA with Distinction, 1970

Languages: English

Employment history: Heidrick & Struggles, Vice-Chairman, 1992 to present; Lamalie Associates, Managing Partner, 1986-92; General Electric, VP, Ceramics, 1982-86; Fotomat, SVP, 1980-82; American Optical Group, Warner Lambert, GM, 1977-80; McKinsey, Engagement Manager, 1973-77; Cole National, VP, 1972-73; Rike’s, Federated Department Stores, Divisional Merchandise Manager, 1970-72

Other interests: Sports

Professional/Membership Affiliations: AESC

Experience in executive search consulting: 22 years

High Profile Placement: CEO, BHP Billiton, 1998, 2007

Other paths I might have pursued: Senior management in a blue chip global company

The global business trend that will most influence corporate performance in the future: The steadily increasing globalization across all sectors of business coupled with increased pressure from strong corporate governance and private equity ownership will continue to raise the bar for performance.

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