Abruzzo to Lead Nonprofit Succession Planning Initiative for DHR Leadership Consulting

Jan 29, 2021

NEW YORK – Global Executive Search firm DHR International is pleased to announce James Abruzzo, the long-time global head of DHRs nonprofit executive search practice, is now also leading an initiative to support nonprofit organizations with their succession planning needs.

The need for succession planning in nonprofit organizations is underscored by Abruzzo’s research of the activities of nonprofit board members and chief executives. In 2020, Abruzzo and DHR conducted a survey which stated confirmed that while four out of five nonprofit board members and CEOs agree that a succession plan is “important” or “very important, ” less than one in five organizations surveyed had a succession plan in place.

“We have identified the issue of succession planning as an important, immediate and long-term need for nonprofit organizations and are developing services specifically designed for the unique needs of the arts and cultural, social service, foundation, and educational sectors,” according to Abruzzo.

Research suggests that nonprofit CEOs enjoy significantly longer tenures than CEOs in the corporate sector, that leadership within the nonprofit sector is aging, and the pipeline for new leaders may not meet the demand. Furthermore, some within the sector may be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic. These factors point to the need for both emergency and long-term planning in the nonprofit sector.

Christine Greybe, President of DHR Leadership Consulting states, “While Leadership Consulting’s main clients have been corporations, PE firms and multinationals, there is a great need among the nonprofit sector for succession planning, coaching, and organizational development. The pandemic has hit the nonprofit sector particularly hard and we are positioning our firm to assist in any way we can.”

Abruzzo joined DHR in 2002 to found the firm’s nonprofit practice and has consulting with hundreds of clients during his 19-year tenure, including national health services organizations; universities; environment groups; arts, cultural, and international relief organizations; foundations; and trade associations. Prior to DHR, Abruzzo was head of search and consulting for nonprofit organizations at AT Kearney. Concurrently, he has also served on the faculty of some of the most prestigious graduate schools, including the Free University of Berlin, the University of Bologna, Bocconi SDA in Milan, and Columbia University. Abruzzo is the founder and retired director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School and publishes extensively on the subject of nonprofit leadership.