Chief Operating Officer | Global Not-For-Profit


One of NGS Global’s largest global competitors had failed to deliver this search. Our client-centric approach, rigorous research methodology and ability to trigger interest in exceptional passive candidates resulted in an outstanding executive appointment.


Founded in 2000 by a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, our client was a global not-for-profit with the primary mission of accelerating economic development in emerging economies by driving large-scale job creation through entrepreneurship, innovation and skills development. Today, the foundation is scaling impact in 25 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America through their flagship programs in each of these areas.

The Need

Our client was seeking to bring in a Chief Operating Officer based in India, in line for succession to their global President/CEO based in the US. This was a search that one of our largest global competitors had failed to deliver even after many months, and we were called in by the client who had experienced our delivery capability in an earlier search.

While our client was a not-for-profit, they were looking for an accomplished leader from the for-profit world with passion to give back to society. The leader was required to have had a track record scaling businesses and an understanding of the challenges that entrepreneurs face as they set up a business. S/he was also expected to have a strong grip on technology and platforms as our client deployed technology extensively in scaling the impact of their programs. A robust connection with start-up incubators, accelerators and venture funds, an ability to be the face of the foundation in India, and strong people leadership skills were other key considerations.

Our Search Process

In consultation with the client, our first task was to determine how we could do things differently from our global peer who had failed to deliver the search. It was important for us to know the hits and misses of the earlier search firm and why the position could not be filled. We realised that the ideal profile was someone who had scaled at least a couple of businesses at large corporations and/or had built a couple of start-ups from zero to at least US$50 million annual revenue. And s/he needed to demonstrate a strong desire to give back to society, as well as show evidence of having scaled businesses leveraging technology and platforms. 

We aligned ourselves completely to the client’s key asks and went deep into the market to find relevant candidates. After extensive research, we presented eight candidates, none of whom were actively seeking a career opportunity. None of the eight had visualized that they would eventually move to the non-profit world as they were accomplished executives in for-profit enterprises, but we were successfully able to excite them about such a unique opportunity. 

Out of these candidates, our client offered the position to a successful serial entrepreneur who was also on the boards of a few mid-sized companies, and was an active participant in the start-up enabling ecosystem in India. He had also sold several of his start-ups to some large corporations, and they were so impressed by his verve and commercial nous that he ended up heading the BU’s in these corporations or served as a strategic advisor.

Our NGS Global Value-Add

• Execution led by two Partners which meant that we were able to excite passive candidates for the role.

• Influenced the target candidates to consider giving back to society and work for a higher purpose than just making money.

• Thorough due diligence, including confidential reference checks run by the India Managing Partner, which was intended to uncover strong points and areas of improvement with regards to the chosen candidate, thereby reducing the hiring risk.

Contact Deepti Jethanandani (Project Lead)

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