How Korn Ferry helped a global logistics firm find fresh leadership to radically accelerate its Environmental, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S) program and drive ESG ambitions.


A leading global logistics company

As a global leader in the supply chain and logistics space, this company has tens of thousands of employees spread across 200+ countries and ambitious ESG and Sustainability goals. However, changing mindsets and culture, especially across a very large, distributed, and often transient workforce, is a serious challenge—one that requires focus, persistence and broad stakeholder engagement. As a result, the search for a new EHS&S leader capable of fulfilling the company’s ESG goals promised to be an exacting task.

The Challenge

The search for a practical visionary

The business needed to replace its Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability leadership and found itself at an inflection point—what would its future EHS&S leadership look like? How would they lead enterprise-level change across a set of business functions which are critical to all stakeholders but historically have been viewed as individual cost centers? Moreover, within the business there was a keen awareness of the growing public scrutiny and heightened focus on ESG generally, as well as an appreciation of the extremely small pool of suitably experienced leadership candidates.

Recruiting for this role involved other key challenges. A common challenge today is that the best candidates can be in multiple competing hiring processes, many of which are on accelerated timelines. Securing the best talent requires planning, adaptability and the capacity for decisive action.

More specifically, EHS&S leadership within our client’s sector of global logistics requires a clearly defined skillset and experience base. Our client required someone who was not only able to develop ESG strategies at the highest levels, but also able to engage a diverse global workforce on a practical level and deliver real positive change on the ground.

Finally, within the ESG sector, compensation packages have evolved significantly in recent years. Our client found that their compensation package was outdated when compared with current market demands.

“This person needed to have all the technical, organizational and leadership competencies, but they also needed to be someone who would lead from the heart and be comfortable engaging the entire workforce regardless of setting.”

The Solution

Using speed and decisiveness to source a future leadership candidate

Our first essential step involved planning—working with the client to define the exact candidate profile and creating a structure for carefully evaluating and prioritizing candidates. With the team’s extensive networks and significant ESG experience, we were quickly able to identify a global talent pool of a little under 200 executives with the skills and experience needed for success.

We then needed to take into account the significant talent supply-demand imbalance that companies are experiencing globally. To best position our client, we began early conversations with promising candidates. These conversations focused not only on ensuring buy-in to the client vision for this role, but also made clear the type of compensation package that would be considered acceptable by each candidate before we reached the point of discussing an offer.

Of the small group of highly qualified candidates identified, all had compensation packages that required the client to rethink their offer. Korn Ferry then helped to deliver creative solutions that limited the impact to the overall compensation structure while offering candidates competitive, multi-year compensation benefits.

With a clear search definition laid out early in the process, we were then able to evaluate candidates in a consistent way and identify the top two candidates. Compensation insights were then overlaid in order to effectively select which candidate would receive the offer. Decisiveness here was essential—delay at this stage can put an entire search process at risk and lead to outstanding candidates choosing other offers, receiving accelerated promotions, or withdrawing altogether.

“Looking at creative ways to realign your compensation and benefits packages with candidate expectations can transform outcomes.”

The Results

Making waves in a competitive talent pool

To secure the right person, we supported the client’s compensation and benefits team in slightly modifying the common offer structure into something comfortable for both the candidate and the client. After minimal negotiation the offer was accepted and the candidate has now been fully onboarded, already driving extensive change across the function and broader organization.

While this leader is still early in their tenure, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Expectations around the impact they will have on the enterprise ESG program are very high.

Let us be a part of your success story. Contact us to see how we can move you forward on your ESG journey.

Related Capabilities